Latest News on G Sathiyan (Table Tennis), Biography, Profile, Photos and Videos
With the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Justnewsday takes a quick look at one of India’s top paddlers Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, and charts his journey towards securing Olympic qualification.
Editor’s Note: For five years now, Indian athletes have been dreaming to make up for the disappointment of a two-medal haul in Rio. The span has been extraordinary, with COVID-19 having thrown their preparations – and the Olympics itself – off gear. However, in true Olympic spirit, the country’s finest sportspersons have battled form and uncertainty to put their best foot forward in what promises to be a Games like none other. In our latest series, we track the last two years’ performances of our athletes to give you a ready guide to their form leading into the biggest sporting spectacle of the world.
With the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Justnewsday takes a quick look at one of India’s top paddlers Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, and charts his journey towards securing Olympic qualification:
One of the most promising names in Indian table tennis, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is the first paddler from India to clinch two ITTF Pro tour titles (Belgium 2016 and Spain 2017). He is also the first Indian to break into the world’s top 25 in ITTF rankings, a feat he achieved in May 2019 when he attained his career best ranking of 24.
Sathiyan notched up some key victories in 2019. In September 2019, he defeated Japanese sensation Harimoto Tomokazu in straight sets at the Asian TT Championships. He became the first Indian to reach the quarter-final stage at the event as he went down fighting to Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the men’s singles.
Later, in his debut World Cup appearance in November, Sathiyan got the better of higher-ranked Frenchman Simon Gauzy 11-13, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8 and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-2, to reach the round of 16 at the 2019 ITTF Men’s World Cup.
For a major part of 2020, sporting events came to a standstill owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Sathiyan was fortunate enough to stay in touch with table tennis, taking part in a few competitive tournaments.
In February, when the virus wasn’t as widespread, Sathiyan, along with Achanta Sharath Kamal, claimed a silver at the ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open, losing to the German pair of Benedikt Duda and Patrick Franziska. The Indians lost 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11 against the Germans.
With the Tokyo Olympics in mind, Sathiyan signed a deal with Polish Superliga team Sokolow SA Jaroslaw for the 2020-21 season. After competing in Poland during October, the Indian paddler took up another assignment, moving to Tokyo in late November for participating in Japan’s Japan’s T-League for Okayama Rivets.
Featuring in his fourth final in seven years, Sathiyan finally got his hands on the National table tennis championship in February 2021, with a win over nine-time champion Kamal 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8.
The top-ranked Indian men’s single paddler won both his matches at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers to book an Olympic berth. He overcame his experienced Indian compatriot Kamal 11-9, 15-13, 5-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8 in the opening clash. Next up, he thrashed Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez 4-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2) to top his group.
The 28-year-old had a superb run in the Polish Super League in April 2021, winning nine matches for his bronze medal-winning team Jaroslaw. This also happened to be his final competitive tournament ahead of the Games.
Sathiyan was one of the busiest players during the COVID-19 , something that bodes well for India and the paddler just months away from Tokyo Games.
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