In the Japanese capital since November, the Indian table tennis player has experienced first hand how the Olympics host city has tackled the COVID challenge.
Indian table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is confident that Tokyo is ready to tackle the COVID-19 challenges and successfully host the Olympic Games from July 2021.
In Japan since November to play in the T-League for the Okayama Rivets, the current world No. 37 men's singles TT player has observed first-hand the situation in the host city.
“To me, Tokyo looks ready. Posters announcing the Olympics are everywhere, huge billboards, digital screens, and the Japanese government is really going all the way to make sure they host the Games,” Sathiyan told ESPN.
Sathiyan, who had also recently travelled to Europe and spent time in Poland to play in the Polish league, also reckoned that Japan seems like the best place to hold the Games given the circumstances at hand.
“If we compare it with Europe and countries in the West, Japan is probably best placed to host the Olympics at the moment. On Thursday, December 17, Tokyo had around 822 positive cases, but overall, they have the virus under control to a large extent here," he stated.
The 27-year-old Sathiyan also remains confident that his Indian compatriot Sharath Kamal and he will be able to qualify for the Summer Games based on their rankings. Sathiyan was in good stead to make it to Tokyo before the Games were postponed in 2020.
The Chennai-born Sathiyan is already looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics in six months time. On one of his T-League break days, Sathiyan went down to the Odaiba Marine Park water area where the Olympic symbol was reinstalled recently.
“The five rings were lit up, with the Rainbow Bridge in the background. I got a kind stranger to click a picture of me with it. It was a very special and emotional moment for me to just stand there alone by the bay and look at the rings. My Olympic dream suddenly seemed so close and real, and I know I will do everything I can to be at the Games,” he reminisced.
"At this moment, I can't ask for a better place or a better way to end a really tough year. And I want to be back here in six months," he added.
Lead photo: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/Twitter