Tokyo-bound Indian paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan revealed that he is working on bringing more variation and pace to his game. The Chennai-based athlete, who is also the reigning national champion, practised with robots during the lockdown to keep himself in shape and work on his speed.
Four Indian Table Tennis stars – Sharath Kamal, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee have qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics across three events. In spite of regular representation at the Games, the Indian paddlers have never gone past the initial stages so far, leave aside bringing back a medal.
However, things could change this time, with the drastic improvement of the players in the past few years. Out of the current lot, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan has been the poster boy of Indian Table Tennis in recent times, with the Chennai-based athlete aiming for glory in Tokyo. The reigning national champion is currently preparing for the spectacle and is specifically working on bringing more variation and pace to his game.
"We (coach S Raman and himself) are working on bringing more variation and pace to my game. That is one thing I need to work and handle better on the slow and fast balls. We are also trying a lot of variations in the serve and the receiving and bring in more surprise elements there," said Gnansekaran Sathiyan, during a media interaction organised by SAI.
Sathiyan was always busy with his game, even in the lockdown when he sparred with a robot to work on his speed. However, the Olympics need special preparations. To make his case stronger, the athlete has ordered an ‘Absolute Double Advanced’ Table from Japanese table manufacturer San-Ei, the one which would be used in Tokyo, to get a fair idea of what he’s heading for.
"I am trying to get a table that will be used in Tokyo 2020 and if things get better, it would definitely be one of the best and intense preparations that I would be making heading for the Olympics,” added the 28-year old.
“That is one of the tables that is never used in other competitions and it makes a huge difference as it's as different as playing in grass and clay court (in tennis). So, it was very important that I get to practice for the Olympics on the table that would be used in Tokyo and it will help me get used to the conditions and perform better.”