CHENNAI: Amid the incessant rise in COVID-19 cases, paddler G Sathiyan admits that some amount of fear and anxiety about catching the virus is inevitable. The world No. 38 has been training at the Raman TT High-Performance Centre here with sparring partner Anirban Ghosh for 5-6 hours every day as he gears up for his maiden Olympics in a couple of months. Even though the 28-year-old has been taking all precautions and only leaving home for training, he is relieved to have taken the first dose of the Covishield vaccine last Thursday.
“I needed to take the first dose now so that I will be getting the second dose towards the end of June. I wanted to make sure I have sufficient time after the second dose before going to the Olympics. I was in Poland for the Polish league in April. When I came back, things got worse. So I wanted to wait, but I have taken it now,” Sathiyan told The New Indian Express.
For the next couple of months, Sathiyan will have to fine-tune his preparation with practice sessions limited to Chennai as there are no tournaments lined up. His key focus is to build some muscle and add more power to his strokes.
“I am working a lot on my fitness. I want to add more power to my strokes. My forte has been speed and that will always be a strength. But I am working on putting some muscle in order to hit the ball harder. Power hitting is a key area of focus. I also need to work on the serve and receive part of my game. Since it is going to be my debut Olympics, it is equally crucial that I work on the mental side and be in the right frame of mind. If I play it like a normal tournament, I will bring out my best,” he said.
Over the last few years, Sathiyan has been driven by his aspiration to reach the Olympic stage and must have visualised the grand occasion several times in his head. The preparation for the event has not been what the athletes would have ideally envisaged, but the Chennai paddler understands the dire circumstances engulfing the country currently.
“The situation is what it is. We will have to accept it. We almost had no tournaments in 2020. So we have become accustomed to that. I will be working with my mental conditioning coach to immediately get into match mode when the Olympics begins. It is not going to be an ideal Olympics as well. The fact that the Olympics is happening is in itself a big source of satisfaction for everyone in these tough times,” he reflected.