In a bid to get more match practice against top quality opponents, India's ace paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran has signed a contract with current reigning champions Sokolow S.A. Jaroslaw in the Polish Superliga for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The Polish Superliga is slated to start from September this year and depending on the Covid-19 situation in India, Sathiyan will travel to Poland for his short stint there before leaving for Japan where he will play in the T League.
In February, World No 32 Sathiyan became the first Indian to sign for Japan's premier table tennis league. He will be representing Okayama Rivets in the league which will start from October.
The Polish league consists of 13 teams, who play each other on a home and away basis. The league is expected to run till June next year.
"I have signed to play for a short stint in Poland like 4-5 matches and use the time efficiently for more match practice when I am in Europe as the quality of the league and foreign players in Poland is also very high," Sathiyan told IANS on Tuesday.
"Japan League won't be held when there are Pro Tours in Europe. It is in bunches and is the same with Polish League. All matches are held in bunches. In Japan also, I am playing only 12 matches. So I thought when I am in Europe, why not get more match practice at this time when international competitions are not being held," said the 27-year old.
"I have already played there once a couple of years back. Japan will be the top priority. And when I am in Europe for pro tours, instead of travelling so much I can be in Europe and play matches in Poland as well," he added.
Sathiyan, who became the first Indian to break into the top-25 of the ITTF world rankings when he rose to No 24 in July last year, further said that his travel will depend on the Covid-19 situation in India.
"Everything will depend on the health situation in India. I will get paid only if I play matches. I am hoping for the best."
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Executive Committee on Monday decided to extend the suspension of all ITTF events until the end of August due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
The ITTF World Tour Czech Open, originally scheduled from August 25-30 in Olomouc, has been cancelled after the ITTF and Czech Table Tennis Association thought it was impossible to stage the event amid the ongoing travel restrictions and potential risks to health and safety of participants.