Table Tennis: Indian paddler G Sathiyan signs for Polish Superliga club to find rhythm before international season begins

The 27-year-old had already signed to play for Okayama Rivets in the Japanese T-League. Sathiyan is planning to leave for Poland by September end to kick-start his season and get some match practice before the international calendar begins.

Sokolow SA Jarsoslaw club is the defending champion of the Polish Superliga and it boasts of some top paddlers in the world and Sathiyan is excited to participate in it.

While talking to MyKhel, the World No. 32 revealed why he’s only committed four matches to the Polish Superliga club where top players from Asian and European countries participate and how will it help him in the run-up to the Olympics.

Talking about why he decided to participate in the Polish Superliga, Sathiyan said: “The Polish league is a prestigious league in Europe where top Asian and European paddlers participate. They offered me a contract three months back but I put it on hold because I had already signed for the Japanese league. With the uncertainty regarding Olympic qualifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I put it on hold. But then I was once again approached with an offer from the Superliga’s side and I went through the schedule and found it quite interesting as I could play two leagues (in Europe) at the same time.

“There I’ll have to play fewer matches, probably around four or five and all of them will be high-quality games. I’ll get to play three or four games within a week, which as compared to Germany is shorter because in German Bundesliga you only have matches on Sundays. So it generally gets longer. Since I’ll be in Europe at that time for Pro Tours and all, so I decided to participate in Poland as well, for it will only offer more match practice.”

What will he gain from the league?

When asked about how is this league going to benefit the paddler personally in the run-up to the Olympic year, he said: “I think it’s really important because with the Olympic year you are not sure how many international matches you are going to get. So I wanted to keep the slot open to get more match practice. I had already signed up for the Japanese league but with these European leagues happening I thought it will only help me play more competitive games in the run-up to the Tokyo Games.

“I have not agreed for too many matches, I have only committed four matches (in Poland) because the international calendar if it begins in that period, will be my priority. The Japan league will be the second priority because eyeing for Olympics, training in Japan is essential. And if there are no international matches happening around, I can always play more matches in Poland.”

When is he planning to join the league?

When asked when is he planning to leave for the Polish league, Sathiyan said: “It starts in September and if everything goes fine then I am planning to go there by September end. My schedule in Poland will be a packed one. It’s like two weeks and I’ll get to play high-quality four-five matches, unlike Germany where one has to wait five weeks to play as many games.”

Big stars and exposure

When asked about who are the other big players participating in the Polish Superliga and the exposure he’s going to get there, the Tamil Nadu paddler said: “There are a lot of top Asian players participating in the league so the level of competition will be high. There are players from Ukraine and Slovakia in my club and other big names from European countries. Wong Chun Ting from Hong Kong, Kenta Matsudaira from Japan participated in the Polish Superliga in the past. However, I am not sure if they are participating this year or not. Even top Polish player Jakub Dyjaz – who played in Germany last year – will also be playing. So it will be an enriching experience.”

Focus on the international calendar and Japanese league

Sathiyan said he’s only going to play in these are the two leagues but his priority will be Pro Tours and Japanese league.

“As I told, since there’s uncertainty about the international calendar, I’ll be playing a minimum of 12 games, perhaps more if permitted, in the Japanese T League for it will be key to my Olympic preparations. Plus there will be better training in Japan. And I’ll play at least four games in Poland, which I’ll increase if there are no international games happening around.”

‘Indirectly help in improving rankings’

When asked how will such leagues help him improve his international rankings, Sathiyan said it will aid him indirectly.

“The leagues will help me improve my game. The leagues will indirectly help me improve my rankings because they don’t carry rating points. But the match practice against top players will help me get better because when you play against different players from other countries and perform well as a team under pressure during crunch situations, you only get better. The more matches I play the better I get and that is going to be my focus during these leagues. The experience I had in German Bundesliga helped me do much better in the Pro Tours. Hopefully, the upcoming leagues will help me push harder to prepare well for Tokyo Olympics,” he signed off.

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