Sathiyan plans to train with Asian players to crack top 20 ranking

The Chennai player, who broke into top 50 with an impressive run in 2017, said that he will be training in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea in the coming months to sharpen his skills.

G. Sathiyan said that most of the world’s top players come from Asia and Raman, and also suggested that it would be beneficial to train with the Asian players.   -  Vivek Bendre

India’s top table tennis player G. Sathiyan has set an ambitious goal of breaking into the top 20 of world rankings and plans to train with leading players in Asia to help achieve the target.

The Chennai player, who broke into top 50 with an impressive run in 2017, said that he will be training in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea in the coming months to sharpen his skills.

“I will be training in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea to improve my game and sharpen my skills. The idea to train in these countries came from my personal coach S. Raman,” Sathiyan said in an interaction.

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The 25-year-old said that most of the world’s top players come from Asia and Raman, and also suggested that it would be beneficial to train with the Asian players.

“Most of the world’s best paddlers are from Asia, especially the Chinese. Training with them will be helpful in the long run. Playing with them will help improve my skills,” said Sathiyan, who is currently ranked 44 in the ITTF rankings.

“The plan is to train with the players at their national academies, beginning with Hong Kong. However, the dates are yet to be confirmed,” he added.

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Sathiyan said that he is focusing on being aggressive during his training with coach Raman. “Raman Sir and I have been working on being aggressive. We have been working a lot on this aspect,” he added.

The 25-year old paddler, a qualified engineer, feels that playing in the Bundesliga for ASV Grunwettersbach Tischtennis would come in handy.

“Apart from the stint with the national academies in Asia, playing in the Bundesliga would provide good exposure as some of the best will be taking part,” said the India No.1, who is leading the Dabang Smashers in the ongoing UTT.

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Talking about the upcoming Asian Games, Sathiyan, who won three medals at the Commonwealth Games, said that it is going to be hard and a favourable draw can help them to return with a medal from Jakarta.

“It (our prospects) is going to be very hard at the Asian Games, with the Chinese and other Asian powerhouses around. We are playing with a lot of confidence and if we get a favourable draw anything is possible,” said Sathiyan, who won a Team gold, a silver in men’s doubles and bronze in mixed doubles at Gold Coast.

Sathiyan’s coach S. Raman, a former national champion, said that training with the Asian players will put him in good stead ahead of the Asian Games.

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“Asian Games is a big event and Sathiyan needs to prepare well for it. The best players are from Asia and we felt he needs to train with them for the games. There can’t be better preparation than by training with the Asian paddlers. It is going to be tough at the Asian Games. But, if luck is on our side and we get a favourable draw we can win medals,” he added.

Talking about training Sathiyan, Raman said: “We are trying to be more creative with his angles and attack more on the returns.” Sathiyan said that he is also working with the noted physical fitness trainer, Ramji Srinivasan, to improve his speed, strength and endurance.