Tokyo Olympics: Meet the contenders – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran | Tokyo Olympics News

With the Tokyo Olympics now under ten days away, we are regularly profiling some of the biggest Indian and international medal contenders. Today we feature Indian table tennis player – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Name: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (Table Tennis)
Date of Birth: January 8, 1993
Birth Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Sport/Event(s): Table Tennis (Men’s Singles)

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Major achievements:
* Silver in 2020 ITTF Major – Hungarian Budapest (Men’s Doubles)
* Bronze in 2019 Muscat Oman ITTF Challenge Plus (Men’s Singles)
* Bronze in 2019 Australian Geelong ITTF Platinum (Men’s Doubles)
* Bronze in 2018 Jakarta Asian Games (Men’s Team)
* Bronze in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (Mixed Doubles)
* Silver in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (Men’s Doubles)
* Gold in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (Men’s Team)
* Gold in 2017 Spanish ITTF Challenge (Men’s Singles)
* Silver in 2017 Bulgaria ITTF Major (Men’s Doubles)
* Gold in 2016 Belgium ITTF Challenge (Men’s singles)

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
In February this year, 28 year old Sathiyan Gnanasekaran broke a seven-year jinx of not winning the National Table Tennis Championships when he beat nine-time champion Achanta Sharath Kamal in Panchkula. Prior to his title victory, Sathiyan had lost thrice in the finals in his six appearances and the same number of times in the last four stages.
After winning the title, Sathiyan revealed that the key to his success was adapting to Indian playing conditions as the Covid pandemic forced him to change his training pattern.
Forced to stay sharp during the lengthy lockdowns, Sathiyan trained with a robot at home. Sathiyan had imported a ping pong robot from Germany and finally booked an Olympic berth in the Asian qualifying tournament in Doha in March.
This was the first time that the ball-tracking tool was being used in table tennis, even though it has been popular in cricket for years now.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sathiyan has been restricted to individual training. According to reports, Sathiyan has turned the roof terrace of his Chennai home into a sports hall, ordered a new table just like the ones he will play on in Tokyo, and has roped in a local player to practise against.
Sathiyan also plays in the Polish TT league. He maintained an unbeaten record in the Polish Superliga. Representing Jaroslaw, Sathiyan won nine matches for his bronze medal-winning team. In his last league match, Sathiyan registered a 3-1 win over Gacina Andrej to gain valuable experience ahead of his preparation for the Olympics.

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