May 18, 2023 Interviews

Winner of the 84th Indian Table Tennis Championships
Comments from Gnanasekaran

Comments were received from Gnanasekaran (India), the winner of the men's singles event at the 84th Indian Table Tennis Championships held from 20 to 27 March 2023. After winning the 2021 edition, his first such success, this was his second win in two years.

――Congratulations on your victory at the Indian National Championships for the second time. You were the favourite; you were the number one seed, the highest ranked Indian player in the world. How do you feel after securing the title in such a situation?

Thank you very much. I think I was expected to win, there was a lot of pressure on me. But I think I played very well under the pressure; I am extremely happy with the win. I dominated throughout the tournament and played at a very high level.

It was the first time I won the National Championships when my mother came to watch, and it was also the first win after my wedding. So, I am very happy about it.

ーーThe Indian National Championships are held once a year, it was the 84th edition of the tournament; it must be a very traditional and important tournament for all table tennis players in India. How important is the title for you and for the Indian players in general?

It is a very important event as all the top players in the country compete every year and it is one of the most prestigious and highest titles for any player in the country.

It also offers double ranking points and more prize money compared to other national ranking competitions. I am really happy that I have been crowned for the second time. This win gives me a lot of confidence to perform well in major international events.

ーーWe have heard that a lot of children in India are starting to play table tennis, influenced by the success of top players like you. What do you think is needed for India to reach the world's top 10 in team and individual events?

Certainly, table tennis in India is improving a lot. I think table tennis is one of the most improved sports in India in the last few years. Many youngsters are inspired by our victories, especially after the 2018 Asian Games were held, and started table tennis.

There is no doubt that table tennis is a top ten popular sport in India, the government also encourages our sport. However, I think we still need to promote it more in schools, create a table tennis culture, improve infrastructure facilities and raise awareness about table tennis (in order for India to become one of the top 10 table tennis countries in the world).

India defeated Japan in the quarter-finals in the men's team event at the 2018 Asian Games.
Gnanasekaran secured two victories. (Photo courtesy of ITTF).

India won bronze in the men's team (photo courtesy of ITTF).

ーーWhat are your goals for 2023 and 2024?

My goals for this year 2023 are to break into the world’s top 25 in singles and to win a medal at the Asian Games.

Next year, in 2024, my goals are to break into the top 15 in the world in singles and aim for a medal at the Paris Olympics. I have a great chance, especially in the mixed doubles, as we are ranked fifth in the world now.

I want to do my best.