The Indian paddlers will train with their German counterparts ahead of the all important Olympic team qualifier in January.
The men’s side comprising G Sathiyan (world rank 30) and Sharath Kamal (34) has a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics as a team for the first time. India are currently ranked eighth and just need to enter quarter-finals in the qualification event to make the Olympics.
“We have a very good chance of qualifying for the Olympics. There are some tough teams like Croatia and Hong Kong. We are ready for everything as the players are in good shape and doing well,” Sathiyan told PTI on Tuesday.
The qualifying tournament for the Olympics will be held in Gondomar in Portugal from January 22. After a training camp in Chennai, the Indians will have a camp in Germany with its national team in Dusseldorf from January 13 to 20.
The 26-year old Sathiyan linked up with Sharath, Harmeet Desai and others at the camp at the Nehru stadium after a week-long training stint in South Korea where he trained with the country’s top players. He said the camp in South Korea was very useful.
“It was really a good stint. We had proper training with South Korea’s top players (two in the top 20). I had gone there with a clear plan and am thankful to the Koreans for their support. The infrastructure at the Korean National Training Centre was fantastic,” Sathiyan added.
The Chennai paddler will be leaving to Germany on Wednesday to take part in the semi-finals of the German Cup for his team ASV Grunwettersbach.
He said there was focus on doubles in the Chennai camp as it was a key part of the qualifying tournament, adding it is important for the team to find the right pairing.
“There was focus on doubles in the camp. Doubles plays a crucial role in qualification as it is the first match in the tie. It is going to be a tricky as the rule is those from the doubles pair can play only in one singles each. We have to plan very carefully. That’s why we are playing here with all possible pairs,” he added.