Sathiyan: Focus on stints in Korea, Germany ahead of Tokyo 2020

Sathiyan felt that service and receiving have been neglected and hence the extra effort is being made to improve them.

G. Sathiyan recently featured in his maiden ITTF Men's World Cup this year in China.   -  Getty Images

Top Indian paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan is aiming to make the most of his forthcoming training stints in Korea and Germany. The 26-year-old has worked with his coach S. Raman on the service and receiving skill of the game.

The World No. 30, Sathiyan said: “That’s (service and receiving) a very boring part of the sport, but I think the more boring things you play, the better you get in the sport. That is why we started working on that and looking forward to getting aggression on my receiving and not just try to put the ball into play.”

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Extra effort

Sathiyan felt that service and receiving have been neglected and hence the extra effort is being made to improve them. “That is the only stroke which is in your control. At the top-level, I have realised that you don’t get to play your game at all if you don’t serve and receive well. Sharath (Kamal) has a very good serve and third ball attack, but most of them have a very good rally game. In India, most have a good game when the ball gets to play. With the Asians, we have realised that it doesn’t go to that extent at all if the serve or receiving is not up to the mark,” he said.

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Historic feat

Sathiyan who has virtually qualified for the singles competition of the Tokyo Olympics believes that training in Korea and Germany will go a long way in his preparation. “I’ll be going to Korea. It is the first kind of initiative and we have already spoken to the Korean Federation. I’ll be training with the Korean national team from December 22 to 30. It is the first time that an Indian would be training at the national centre of an Olympics medalist team, so I am looking forward to that. And after that, the Indian team will be training in Dusseldorf, Germany. Germany has already qualified (for the Olympics) and that’s why we chose it. “

After Germany, the Indian team will go to Portugal for the Olympics qualifiers. “I know, we have virtually qualified in singles, but the event in Portugal is going to be the only event where we can make it as a team. So we have to make the top nine there. There will be 64 teams taking part and if we can make it in the top nine, India will be playing as a team in the Olympics for the first time. We are hoping to make history. We are number 8 in the World.”

Sathiyan has been supported by GoSports Foundation which conducted a conclave for 60 of its athletes and 15 coaches.