Tokyo 2020: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran begins practice upon arrival in Japan, impressed with arrangements

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The Chennai-based paddler took to his Twitter handle and shared images of his first fitness session at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Sathiyan tweeted, “This is spectacular. All geared up for our first session at the Olympic match arena. #tokyometropolitangymnasium #sathiyantt #tabletennis.”

He even shared a video on his Facebook page in which he could be seen sparring with compatriot Sharath Kamal at the Nakano Training arena in Tokyo.

While speaking with MyKhel from Tokyo after his first training session, Sathiyan seemed pretty satisfied. The world number 38 paddler was also impressed with the arrangements made at the practice arena as well as the games village.

“Everything is amazing and nicely arranged here. The arrangements made for the athletes are top-notch. Even the COVID-protocols are being strictly followed and that’s a good thing,” the 29-year-old said.

Tokyo 2020 Exclusive: ‘Leaving Chennai with a positive frame of mind augurs well for me at Olympics,’ says Sathiyan

When asked about the weather conditions in Tokyo and if it will be challenging for Indian athletes, Sathiyan added, “It’s hot here but that’s not going to be an issue.”

The bed installed at the Games Village for athletes is creating quite a buzz on social media with many calling it ‘anti-sex beds’ for it won’t sustain the weight of more than a person. The decision is reportedly being taken to avoid the intimacy between athletes, which will ensure limiting the chances of COVID-19 transmission amongst contingents.

Commenting upon the so-called anti-sex beds, Sathiyan termed it all a myth and said the beds are made up of cardboard but they are strong enough.

Before leaving for Tokyo, Sathiyan while speaking with MyKhel, seemed pretty confident with the practice he has had in the run-up to the mega event. The Chennai paddler’s performance in the last three-four years has been impressive which will bode well for him.

Sathiyan produced a historic medal-winning performance at the Asian Games in 2018 when he defeated the Japanese world number four. The experience of playing the local league – the Japanese T-league – has filled Sathiyan, earlier this year, with confidence ahead of his maiden Summer Games.

Sathiyan looks a far improved player than he was at the 2018 Asian Games, considered a mini Olympics in the fraternity, where he won his two matches against Japan in the quarterfinals to end India’s 60-year wait for a medal at the continental Games.

His good run against the Japanese continued the following year when he stunned world number four Harimoto Tomokazu in the Asian Championships, though the team lost the rubber.

Sathiyan had also informed Mykhel how rubbing shoulders with top paddlers and training with them during the T-League and Polish League has helped him raise his game further.

However, unlike the Asian Games, he wouldn’t have his personal coach and Olympian S Raman by his side in Tokyo. He is disappointed about that but is taking it in his stride.

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