Sathiyan working on variation and power for Olympics

Olympic-bound men’s singles table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran says he is working on variation and power in his strokes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

“I believe the element of surprise is important to stay in the race for a podium finish at the Olympics. That could only be possible if I’m technically good. I’m working to improve variation in serve which is an important aspect of training to score points during crucial junctures of the competition,” the 28-year-old said of his preparation on Friday.

The Chennai-based player said he is also working to improve his strokes.

“I have speed but lack power. I’m working on having more power-packed strokes as it is important to balance both tactics and technique,” he said during an online media interaction.

Gnanasekaran said playing in the Polish Pro League in April followed by the Japanese Pro League was a good experience as several competitions were cancelled due to the pandemic.

“For me, both the leagues were very valuable as I got the chance to play high-intensity competition. Playing quality matches in Poland and Japan would be an advantage when I compete in the Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

Gnanasekaran said that preparing for the Tokyo Olympics in Chennai has its own advantages.

“Due to the pandemic, it is difficult to invite sparring partners from foreign countries or travel abroad. But training in a home environment is mentally relaxing. I’m planning to practice on a table similar to the one at the Tokyo Olympics. Have send a proposal [for the table] to the Sports Authority of India (SAI). I hope it would be approved as early as possible,” he said.

Gnanasekaran said that 2018 was the turning point in his sports career as he won medals in both Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games.

“Good performance in 2018 has changed my mindset. My next stop is Japan,” he added.