Why Sathiyan is confident on India's Olympic chances
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran claims that India has the best chance to win big in the coming Tokyo Olympics when it comes to table tennis. It seems that the star is confident that India will fare well as they have waited for this chance for a very long time, and they are not holding back.
India has secured as many as four spots in the singles for the table tennis event. Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, and Sutirtha Mukherjee have all won at the Asian qualifiers in Doha last March 2021. The elite set of stars have reigned supreme in the game so far.
India is known as one of the best contenders when it comes to table tennis. While the sport has been dominated by European stars and Japan for Asia, India still has a strong fighting chance with that kind of lineup in the coming Olympic Games.
Sathiyan insists that India will surely go for a podium finish in the coming Olympics. He goes on to say that they have the best chances of winning after a very successful run last March. With Sharath and Batra leading the way in the doubles, Sathiyan is eager to believe that they will win.
‘220 countries play this sport. We have come a long way and I think it's still a very long way to go. Mixed doubles, definitely they have a big chance’, said Sathiyan. ‘There are only 16 pairs, you start off with Round of 16. They have a very realistic chance’.
The win in the Doha qualifiers was big enough for India. It has been the momentum that they needed to sustain a push in the Olympics.
Sathiyan even put some tabs on himself as he believes that he will be able to play better than ever. Training with a robot surely helped him a lot, but the star also insists that his hot run in the past tourney helped him become better.
‘Even in the singles, we have a great chance. I beat (Tomokazu) Harimoto, the World No. 4 (at the Asian championships in 2019). He is a strong contender for an Olympic medal. When you beat the top 10 players, it gives a lot of confidence’, said Sathiyan. ‘We have done well in a lot of tournaments, we won the first medal in Asian Games. We are confident, we are going to put up a strong performance, aiming for a medal’.
The Tokyo Games will be held from July 23 to August 8. That gives India at least three more months to get ready for the intense competition. They have enough time to prepare for action, and Sathiyan is glad to have the chance to play in the biggest stage of the sport this year.
Sathiyan is also keen to prove his worth as one of the best stars in the sport, and this is his moment.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores