ITTF lauds Sathiyan as India's biggest table tennis star

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has lauded paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran as India's silver lining at the 2019 Asian TT Championships.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran of India celebrates his victory over Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto at the ITTF-Asian Table Tennis Championships in Indonesia.   -  Getty Images

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has hailed Sathiyan Gnanasekaran as India's biggest star of the ongoing 2019 Asian Table Tennis (TT) Championships in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Team India, seeded fourth, had made the quarterfinals of the men's event after finishing as group topper. The side comprising of Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal Achanta and Harmeet Desai took on Japan in the last-eight. 

India started well as Sathiyan beat Tomokazu Harimoto 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 in the opener. However, it was not enough as it lost the next three encounters to Japan to lose 1-3 on overall score to settle for a fifth place finish.

Sathiyan is also the lone Indian to enter the men's singles pre-quarterfinals at the continental tournament. The Indian, ranked 30 in the world, defeated Noshad Alamiyan of Iran 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 and will face off against North Korea's An Ji Song in the next round.

In the men's doubles, Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal reached the quarterfinals beating Mahfoodh Sayed Murtadha and Rashed Rashed of Bahrain 11-8, 11-6, 11-3.

Despite missing out on a medal in the team event, Sathiyan was upbeat about his and the team's futures.

“I need to work on my receives and try to hit my first three balls quite hard. I need to get more power into my strokes. Back in 2012, I used to laugh when Raman sir (coach) said that top 50 should be my aim. And now here I am. Now I believe it is definitely possible to win a medal in Tokyo 2020,” he told ITTF in an interview.