Mumbai: Paddler G Sathiyan, who was part of the men's team that won the gold medal in last month's Commonwealth Games, has set his eyes on the Asian Games in August with much tougher teams to compete against.
The Chennai-based player feels that with a favourable draw, another podium finish is a distinct possibility.
"We all are playing really well and are really high on confidence. Even though the CWG was really good for us, the Asian Games will be much tougher as teams who are ranked top in the world will be competing," Sathiyan told PTI.
Asked if it all depends on the draw, the paddler said, "Absolutely, if you happen to play China in the quarter-finals, it is going to be a little hard. If we go up against Korea or Japan, then we can probably cause an upset but at the same stage, China will be an uphill task. We could probably beat them in future, but not right now.
"If we have a good draw, then we can surely secure a podium finish. I think we need a slight amount of luck in the draw and it won't be surely easy to beat the Koreans or Japanese as they are ranked in the top four of the world," he said.
"We have always been in the light-weight bracket and I feel if we can cause an upset or two, we can secure a podium finish," he added.
The Asian Games are to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in August and table tennis powerhouse China will be competing, besides other top teams such as South and North Korea and Japan.
Sathiyan says that even though the Indian team struck gold in Gold Coast, Australia, there were a lot of areas like technique and mental conditioning where there is a scope for improvement.
"We're playing well, but we need to improve in a lot of aspects, like techniques, mental conditioning and others," he said.
He termed his CWG experience as special.
"For me, it was really good as I was participating in my first Commonwealth Games and to clinch gold in it was an amazing experience.
"It will always be special to me. We've been playing good on the world circuit but it was different playing in the Games for your country with the pressure so high. And I feel I was able to do that and that gave me a lot of confidence. Personally, I am able to face better challenges and think much higher now, I would say."
The paddler says with lot more people watching, there is definitely pressure on the team.
"However, we have a lot of spheres to work on as we missed out on a few good opportunities. We missed out on the doubles gold and lost in the singles as well. Now, as a lot of people are watching us, there's more pressure and you need to keep adding to your skills," he said.
Sathiyan was also part of the Ultimate Table Tennis League and he said his game picked up after the UTT.
"My game picked up after the Australia Open and Ultimate Table Tennis League. I remained unbeaten throughout the last season of UTT and beating those top players gave me a lot of confidence. Beating those players in the top 10, top 20, gave me the belief that we can beat them," he said.
Updated Date: May 09, 2018 19:16 PM