India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat local favourite Nuytinck Cedric 15-13, 11-6, 11-2, 17-15 to win the Belgium Open. He thus became the first Indian to win an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) event since Achanta Sharath Kamal in 2012.
On way to his first pro title, Sathiyan, currently ranked 152nd, beat many higher ranked opponents: world No. 103 Jon Persson in the second round, world No. 75 Steffen Mengel in the quarterfinals and world No. 113 Cedric in the final. Sathiyan now has a good chance of breaking into the top 125 players in the world.
The 24-year-old from Chennai, who could not make the cut for the Rio Olympics, recently had a training stint with a top-division club in Germany.
"I've been feeling great of late and have been causing a few upsets," he said after the win. "Coming into this tournament on the back of missing an Olympic berth, I was short on confidence. However, this victory has come to me at the right time and done my confidence a world of good."
Sathiyan is one of the 19 athletes being supported by the GoSports Foundation under its Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme.