Covid helped me tame home conditions: TT national champ Gnanasekaran


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 A day after winning the national men's single table tennis title by outplaying seasoned Achanta Sharath Kamal in the final, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran on Thursday revealed that the key to his success was adapting to Indian playing conditions as the global Covid pandemic forced him to change his training pattern.

"I've been playing more international tournaments on foreign soil. That hardly gave me time to tame the challenging Indian conditions where the ball spins a lot. But this time due to global pandemic there were fewer international tours and it came as a blessing in disguise. It enabled me to train more in Chennai and in the process learn more about the home conditions," Gnanasekaran told IANS.

At the 82nd National Table Tennis Championships in Panchkula, Gnanasekaran beat nine-time champion Sharath Kamal 4-2 to emerge victorious.

Gnanasekaran, ranked world No.37, says his main focus in the last three weeks was to break the seven-year jinx of not winning the trophy.

"We did a lot of homework. My coach [S. Raman], a former national champion, played a major role to prepare me for the national tournament. The homework gave us something to rejoice," said an elated Gnanasekaran of his good performance on the home soil.

The Jakarta Asian Games medallist could hardly celebrate his victory as his next stop is the World Table Tennis Tour (WTTT) in Doha, starting from February 28.

"I've just reached my destination [Doha]. My immediate focus now is to perform well in the four upcoming competitions to stay on course to earn a berth for the Tokyo Olympics," he said of his future plans.

The qualifying draw of the first WTTT prize money tournament starts on February 28 while the main draw will commence on March 3.

The second WTT series starts on March 5.

The world singles qualification tournament is from March 14 to 17 and the Asian Olympic qualification tournament is from March 18-20.

"The next three weeks will be quite hectic. To be eligible for the Tokyo Olympics it's mandatory for me to play both World Singles and Asian qualifier competitions," he points out.

Apart from Gnanasekaran, Indian world No.32, Kamal is also playing all four tournaments in Doha.

Source: IANS

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