Sathiyan Gnanasekaran on Saturday signed up for Japan’s premier table tennis league – T League – and this became the first Indian to do so. The world No. 30 will turn out for Okayama Rivets in the league. Also Read - Too Early to Decide on Postponing Olympics, Will Abide by What IOC Says: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
JTT, which was launched in 2018, is Japan’s first ever professional league in table tennis. Also Read - Year-Ender 2019: Paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran Takes Over The Mantle From Veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal
Before Japan, Sathiyan has spent two productive seasons in German league where he represented ASV Grunwettersbasch. In fact, he won the German Cup with Grunwettersbasch in January. Also Read - Table Tennis Rankings: Indian Men's Team Achieves Best-Ever Ranking
Revealing why he made the decision to switch to Japan, Sathiyan told PTI, “I made the decision to move out of Germany as Japan is much better for practice and the level is higher than Europe.”
The stint will help Sathiyan rub shoulders with some of the world’s top table tennis players including the likes of world number five Harimoto Tomokazu and former world number four Jun Mizutani.
The other foreign stars who will be playing in the league include world number six Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei and 20th-ranked Lee Sangsu of South Korea.
TT Saitama, Kinoshita Meister Tokyo and Ryukyu Asteeda are the other male teams in the competition.
There are four teams in male category and four in female.
Kinoshita Abyell Kanagawa, Top Otome Pingpongs Nagoya, Nissay Red Elf and Nippon Paint Mallets are the four teams of the women’s division.
Kinoshita Meister Tokyo won the inaugural 2018-19 season in the men’s division while the female division was won by Nissay Red Elf.