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Monday, September 20, 2021

G Sathiyan: The engineer-turned-paddler aims big in debut Olympic Games

The 28-year-old Sathiyan is currently ranked 38th in the world but in 2019, he became the first Indian paddler to break into the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) top-25 rankings.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: July 23, 2021 10:56:29 am
Tokyo Games will be the first Olympics for G Sathiyan.

Milestone:

In 2019 was world No.24, has won two ITTF titles

Parents:

Gnanasekaran (father, passed away in 2015), Malarkodi (mother)

G Sathiyan also comes from Chennai which is touted as the powerhouse of table tennis in the country.

The 28-year-old is currently ranked No. 38 in the World but in 2019 he became the first Indian paddler to break into the ITTF Top-25 when he became No. 24.

Double winner of ITTF titles – Belgium Open and Spanish Open, Sathiyan surpassed his pro-senior A Sharath Kamal by bagging two pro titles and has top-three finishes in several ITTF tournaments.

Tokyo Games will be the first Olympics for the engineering graduate from St Joseph’s Engineering College in Chennai who won the gold in the 2008 Pune Commonwealth Youth Games. In the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Sathiyan won three medals in team, men’s doubles and mixed doubles and in Jakarta Asiad, he added a bronze medal in the team event.

His stunning show came in the 2019 Asian TT Championships when he shocked Japanese star Harimoto Tomokazu and became the first singles player to reach the quarterfinals in 45 years. The two are slated to meet again in Tokyo in the third round.

Like Sharath, Sathiyan also played foreign leagues in Europe but was the first Indian to be featured in the Japanese league.

When it looked like the Covid-19 pandemic might hit his Olympic dreams, Sathiyan made arrangements at home. He roped in his friend and national player Anirban Ghosh as his sparring partner and under the tutelage of his coach S Raman, former national champion, the trio reworked strategies and did everything to plan. In between, he was affected by the news of coach V Chandrasekhar who succumbed to Covid-19.

Chandra trained Sathiyan till 2010 during which time he won CWG youth gold. Chandra had coached Raman too during his playing days.

Raman himself represented India in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and was with Sathiyan during Asian and CWG in 2018 but the player will sorely miss his coach in Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium which will host table tennis events during the Olympics.

Like Sharath, Sathiyan too has got a first-round bye and will meet either Brian Afanador of Puerto Rico or Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong in the second round. If the Indian advances, fourth-seeded Harimoto awaits him in the next round.

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