5/11/2019 1:41:17 AM (GMT+3)

'It’s always special to represent India in World Championships'

DOHA, Qatar: DOHA, Qatar: India’s table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran exuded confidence ahead of next month’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, despite bowing out at the ongoing ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open late on Wednesday evening.

The Chennai-born paddler lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chien-An En 5-11, 10-12, 7-11, 7-11 in the second round preliminaries.  

“I am really excited for the Worlds. It will be my fourth. I’ve had a good training in Chennai with my personal coach Raman (Subramanian),” Gnanasekaran told ittf.com in a recent interview. “It will be great if I can play my best. I’m aiming to reach the top 16. The World Championships is the biggest tournament for any athlete after the Olympic Games.”

Gnanasekaran, who has had a great 2018 year where he guided India to the men’s team gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and bronze medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta (Indonesia), narrowly missed the final berth at the ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open in Muscat (Oman) last week after he lost to top seed Sweden’s Mattias Falck by 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 in the semis

The 26 year old is ranked No.28 and country’s top-rated player ahead of Sharath Kamal Achanta, who has led India to many memorable wins in the last one decade.

“It’s always special to play on the big stage representing your country. I am eagerly looking forward to putting up a great show,” said Gnanasekaran, who defeated Dyjas Jakub 4-3 to reach the final qualification round here.