Sathiyan likely to skip Austrian Open, wants a training phase

With a burnout risk looming large, G. Sathiyan is taking things slow, focusing on giving himself time to train ahead of a busy Olympic qualifying season.

"2019 has been one of the best years in my career so far," says Indian paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan   -  M Vedhan

India’s top paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan has seldom shied away from challenges, however big they happen to be. The 26-year-old, ranked 30 in the World, is now gearing up for two big events — the ITTF men’s World Cup (to be held in Chengdu, China from November 29 to December 1) and the World Olympic qualification tournament (to be held in Gondomar, Portugal from January 22 to 26, 2020).

In order to spend quality training, Sathiyan has decided to skip a couple of Pro Tours. “The last two Pro Tours [German Open & Swedish Open] didn’t go well. I think I was a little tired. Now I need a training phase. I want to spend more time on training, preparing well for the World Cup. I will probably skip the Austrian Open. On the whole, 2019 has been one of the best years in my career so far,” he said.

Sathiyan will spar with Shen Yaohuan at the Raman High Performance TT Centre here from November 19 to 26 and is looking forward to the fight.

On the reasons for inviting the Chinese paddler, Sathiyan said: “He has been a sparring partner for the Chinese Taipei team. He regularly trains with World No.10 Lin Jin-Yu (Chinese Taipei). I just wanted to give it a try and see how things pan out.”

The coach factor

The absence of a foreign coach for the Indian men and women teams for a while has been a major source of concern. Sathiyan said it’s still not too late to have a coach. “We would still love to have someone [coach], who is there to support us for tournaments. I know [previous Indian team’s coach] Max [Costantini] left us at the last minute. So there were not many options,” he said.

According to the Chennai-based player, having a coach before the Olympic qualification tournament will make a huge difference “When you have someone backing you up and binding the whole team, it is great. If it comes before the Olympic qualifiers, it is good,” he said. But we are more focussed on the [Olympic] qualification than on the coach.”