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Exclusive: Table tennis star Sathiyan Gnanasekaran redeems herself with Olympic qualifier in Tokyo

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The 28-year-old table tennis player from Chennai missed the ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio, but has worked hard over the past five years to climb the ladder and establish herself. He is currently ranked 32nd in the world rankings and the Arjuna Awardee athlete has made every effort to make it to the quadrennial event – which is a dream for every athlete to represent his / her country.

To talk with MyKhel On the phone from Doha, Sathiyan expressed his joy after taking the first step towards fulfilling his dream of winning an Olympic medal. The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist (in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles categories), called it one of the best moments of his life.

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“It is one of the best moments of my life and a priceless one I should say because it was my childhood dream to participate in the Olympics and it was a moment when a dream came true,” said Sathiyan.

The paddler – who was part of the bronze medal-winning Indian squad at the 2011 Junior World Championships – also recognized the contribution of his family and coach for their encouragement and unquestioning support on his journey to date.

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“I want to thank my parents, my family and coach for their unconditional support and encouragement for making this possible. I have definitely struggled over the years and missed the 2016 Olympics in Rio. I took up the challenge and decided to put my best foot forward and I have given it all over the years. I had a lot of effort and a lot of sacrifices and it paid off in the end and it is definitely a very special moment in my life, ” said star paddler.

Sathiyan, who achieved his best career in the world ranking of 24 in 2019, became the first ever Indian paddler to break through to the World Top-25 in the ITTF rankings.

Speaking about his plans for the coming months and how he will prepare for his first Olympics, Sathiyan said, “After this, it will be a very crucial time for me as there are still strict COVID protocols and it is very difficult to judge what exactly we are going to do. So from now on I will rest a bit and rehabilitate my shoulders and then on April 1st I will go to Polland to play some leagues for a few weeks. -offs and I hope to take my confidence there and win some games there. “

Sathiyan also admitted that the second wave of COVID-19 and the protocols put in place by the administration in the coming days have again questioned training, but the Tamil Nadu table tennis player will start training at home in Chennai before moving to Poland in the end of the month to participate in some competitions in the European nation.

“So a few weeks in Poland, but after I get back, the plan is not certain. We are looking at options to go to Asia for training or to get a sparring partner to India. That is also a good option for training. , so we look at the other options and how the visa and everything else is going to work, so training in Chennai, with food at home and my coach with a foreign sparring partner, will be a great idea, it will be great if it works. “

Sathiyan wants that to be productive in the next three months as it will help to do well in Japan at the highest level.

“I hope to use the next three months in a productive way as I will also work on my fitness and mental fitness. Just as I made my Commonwealth and Asian Games debut unforgettable, I really want this Olympics debut. count and win India’s first ever Olympic medal in table tennis, ”he added.

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