CHENNAI: When an athlete is inches away from a long-standing goal, several things can happen. Some focus entirely on it. Some start looking beyond the immediate, to the next target. Some others may just fizzle out, unable to bear the pressure that such activities involve.
G Sathiyan belongs to the second category. On Thursday, he dismissed Arjun Ghosh in the men’s final of the 11Even Sports national-ranking (Central Zone) table tennis championship being held in Indore.
Currently ranked 102 in the world and hoping to break into the top 100 soon, he has already started planning to advance further.
“Just one win against a player who is ranked above me can help me achieve 100 (ranking). But right now, I am targeting top 70. For me, if a player improves rapidly and consistently, that is success,” Sathiyan told Express from Indore. This win sets him up nicely for the Australian Open starting on July 4.
After a stint in the German league last year, Sathiyan will play in Poland after August. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Europe, Sathiyan feels he has evolved as a player.
“Every place I go, I learn something new. Small things like getting used to the weather and conditions also help us develop. When the temperature is high, the ball travels faster. If it is cold, it is difficult during warm-ups because the body takes time to adjust. A lot of factors can change the way you play. I am getting use to it,” Sathiyan said.
“That is why I am looking forward to Australia. Though the Commonwealth Games is in 2018, going there and playing in those conditions will get me an idea about how it will be next year.”
Among usual national and international commitments, the Ultimate Table Tennis League is something that every Indian paddler is looking forward to. For Sathiyan, the idea of playing under a different coach is most exciting. “It’s a win-win situation. I have been training with (S) Raman sir for a long time. So during national duty and UTT, I will get a lot of ideas from and tidbits from the foreign coaches.
“I don’t trust anyone easily. Even if he or she has achieved great things, I will analyse if the particular idea will help me in the long run and then only go forward with it. With Raman sir too, that was the case.
“So when I interact with the new coaches, I will be very careful. You need to make the most of it. Some of their ideas will take some time to perfect. So, the smart thing is to stick to your style and work on new plans with your regular coach,” concluded the 24-year-old.