Indian table tennis star Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is confident that he will make his Games debut at the Tokyo Olympics though all sporting activity has been either cancelled or postponed amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is ranked 31st in the men’s singles currently, making him the highest-ranked Indian table tennis player, and incidentally, also enough to take him through to the Tokyo Olympics.
“The qualification should be a formality considering my ranking,” he told The Times of India in an interview. “If the Olympics is happening on time, the world ranking should ensure that Sharath (Achanta Kamal) and I make the cut easily.”
With all international sporting events put off due to the coronavirus, including table tennis with the ITTF suspending its tournaments till April 30, the Indian table tennis star was unsure on what the decision should be.
“We have to see how it all shapes up. Things will become clearer in the next one month. It is too early to decide or jump into conclusions.”, he said.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made history when he broke into the ITTF top-25 last year, making him the first Indian table tennis player to do so, and has hovered around those numbers, which makes the uncertainty around the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics a difficult pill to swallow.
“I have never played in the Olympics. This would have been my first experience, but I am very positive that I will be there whenever it is held,” he added in the interview
How Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is spending his time
Athletes over the world have been more active on social media and have been catching up on shows they may have missed or watching reruns of their favourite ones, and Sathiyan is no different.
“I have been watching Netflix with my mother and trying to complete all the shows that I was watching. This is a good time to interact with my fans and build a base, considering there are no tournaments for the next two months, making it the longest gap since I started playing,” he admitted.
However, it is not all fun and games for the Indian table tennis maverick. “I record all my matches, so have been seeing lots of videos of myself,” revealed Sathiyan.
“I have already started discussions with my coach on the things I can improve. I have made some plans for the future when we start training again.”