Isolation Diaries: With Indian table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran 

The paddler has his lockdown routine sorted with the time off allowing him to enjoy his mother's cooking.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is the highest-ranked Indian table tennis player on the ITTF circuit.

The 27-year old began the year well, winning a silver medal at the Hungarian Open with Achanta Sharath Kamal and looked set to make his Olympics debut at Tokyo 2020 - but has now been forced to wait a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympic Channel caught up with Gnanasekaran during his the period of isolation. The Indian table tennis star is currently at home in Arumbakkam, Chennai where he had been taking a break before the lockdown began.

When was the last time you were indoors for this long?

I do not even remember when this would have happened. I’d say probably during my board exams in the 12th grade (which was a decade ago).

One new skill you learnt/tried out.

I have been venturing into yoga and meditation, I had signed up for a class but had not found the time to do it properly.

Other than that, I try to help out my mother with the household chores.

One task you have found yourself to be poor at.

Cooking, definitely. I tried a couple of things, but it did not turn out well. I am good at eating (laughs) but preparing it has not worked well, maybe I’ll learn soon.

I am also pretty poor at singing and dancing, so I hope no one asks me to do any of those things.

What's your diet been like in the times of lockdown?

This is one aspect that has been good, my mother is mindful of the fact that I am a sportsperson.

It has been a balanced diet largely, home-cooked South Indian meals, I am not indulging in anything as such. I eat rice, some vegetables and fruits mostly.

The lockdown is a blessing in disguise in the sense that I’m staying at home and mom is cooking especially for me. So yes, food is something that I am really enjoying.

Your preferred way to workout at home.

I do a lot of exercises with my mom at our terrace, she is something of a fitness freak herself and probably more enthusiastic than I am (chuckles).

We do a lot of skipping- it does not require much space but it builds agility and makes sure I sweat a lot; I did it a lot as a child and so that habit is probably coming back now.

A TV show or book that you have enjoyed.

My mom and I make it a point to watch one movie together on Netflix every day, in fact, we make a schedule too.

Personally, I found Money Heist amazing, I loved all three seasons (we’ll wait for his feedback on the recently-released fourth season).

I have also been reading biographies recently - Saina Nehwal and Abhinav Bindra’s to be specific; it serves as good inspiration for me to carry into Tokyo 2020.

A person you have video-called with the most.

My best friend Prabhakar, we started our table tennis career together as children, he has played for Tamil Nadu and the Railways team.

We used to speak on call anyway, but he was in Hyderabad so is staying at a relative’s place during the lockdown.

First thing you will do after isolation ends.

I think I’ll get to the court and knock down a few balls at the table, I want to get my feet moving. Obviously, there is a restraint of space at home, you cannot move much with the walls around you.