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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran feels Indian paddlers have a good chance of qualification from the singles division

Modified 01 Feb 2020, 17:53 IST

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

What's the story?

India's table tennis star, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran recently opened up on the Indian paddlers' chances of landing a spot in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, after two attempts at sealing a berth as a team at the Olympics Qualifiers held in Portugal went in vain.

The background

The Indian men's team, boasting of big names such as Sathiyan and veteran Sharath Kamal went into the Olympics qualifiers as sure-shot contenders to make the global event. However, the men's team surprisingly lost their pre-quarterfinal match against Slovenia that dented their chances of qualification.

The team was handed a second chance at qualifying from the plate division quarterfinals, but a loss to Czech Republic meant that all their hopes of booking a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics came to a screeching halt.

The heart of the matter

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in action
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in action

Talking to IANS on Friday (31st January), the 27-year-old paddler heaped praises on India's steady rise in becoming one of the best sides in the world. He said -

"We have started proving our mettle in the world arena. It's not an easy job for teams to take on India now. The exposure for all the players has increased with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sending us for a lot of training camps abroad.
The Ultimate Table Tennis League is making India a table tennis destination. It''s a culmination of a lot of things that have helped the sport grow in India."

Speaking about his personal chances of making the cut to the Olympics in the singles division, Sathiyan added -

"We have a very big chance of qualifying for the singles and I will definitely try to make amends there and see how I can improve my best, and focus on how I can maintain my top form. The preparations are going great. We have a lot of tournaments scheduled. I am pretty sure that I will make the cut very soon."

He even expressed his joy over the announcement of the inaugural Khelo India University Games, claiming that the tournament will help in bridging the gap between the young athletes and the big names who have already established their talent in the sport.

What's next?

After reaching the pre-quarters of the ITTF Men's World Cup last year, Sathiyan will look to better his performances and seal a spot place in Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Published 01 Feb 2020, 17:53 IST
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