NEW DELHI: After falling at the final hurdle three times in the past, G Sathiyan finally broke the jinx to clinch his maiden senior nationals title after a thrilling 4-2 win against nine-time champion A Sharath Kamal at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula on Tuesday.
The world No 37 had narrowly missed out in Cuttack two years ago and in Pondicherry (2014) and Hyderabad (2015). And the Commonwealth Games medallist revealed that there was extra motivation to get the monkey off his back this time around.
"To be honest, every year the schedule of international and national commitments have meant I could not always give my all. But this time around, a lack of competitions meant I was fully preparing for this event. My coach Raman Sir (S Raman) has won this title four times in the past and he helped me in terms of
tactics as well as motivation and I'm over the moon at the moment," a jubilant Sathiyan told this daily over the phone.
Even though he refused to compare this triumph to his international achievements, the Chennai paddler admitted that this was something he had in his bucket list ever since he started playing the sport and the moment it arrived is something he will cherish throughout his life.
"Being able to proclaim myself as a national champion means a lot. I have dreamt of this day since I was young and the past losses made me want this even more and I'm glad that it arrived this year, especially considering how difficult this year was."
The 28-year-old was among the few Indian paddlers to actually play competitively since Covid-19 struck as he ventured abroad to compete in the Polish League as well as his stint in the Japanese T-League.
But now the focus will shift towards the upcoming WTT tournaments in Doha and the crucial Olympic qualifiers. And the Asian Games bronze medallist has very little time to celebrate as he is leaving on Wednesday as athletes will have to quarantine themselves after reaching the city. But the victory will definitely boost the morale heading into such an important month.
"It will definitely be a big boost to my confidence as well as my fitness. I played quite a few matches in a short amount of time, recovered well and managed to get the better of Sharath in the final. This past year I have focussed on my mental and physical fitness and that showed. Now I will switch focus and keep working on the important aspects. Hopefully, I can tick off another point on my bucket list — qualifying for the Olympics."