World men’s no.7 Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong would play for Maharashtra United in the Ultimate Table Tennis League.
Indian no.1 Sharath Kamal will turn out for RP-SG Mavericks; who chose him as the first Indian paddler in the draw.A�Top seed in the women’s category, world no. 9 Han Ying of Germany would figure for Challengers; while Wu Yang, the only player from China, will represent Bayside Spinners.
Indian women’s no.1 Madhurika Patkar will represent Dabang Smashers.
“I am excited to play forA�Dabang Smashers inA�the Ultimate Table Tennis. This league will definitely help the sport prosper in India. The four Indian players in my team are from ONGC, so it already seems like a good mix to me.”
A total of 24 foreign players, including 21 Olympians, and as many Indian players (both men and women) were drafted into six different franchises at the NSCI.
Soumyajit Ghosh, the youngest Indian Olympian in the fray got drafted by Challengers.
Harmeet Desai, India No.4 in men’s category, said, “The Ultimate Table Tennis will offer a great exposure to our Indian players to play alongside top ranking foreign players and also to be trained by the foreign coaches. I am really looking forward to the league.” He will turn out for Maharashtra United.
Vita Dani, co-promoter and chairperson of the league’s owners, 1lEven Sports, said each franchise has shelled out Rs 2.6 crore as fees.
“This includes players’ fees, their international and internal travel and most other things. We are not here to make money and want to run a low-cost model league,” said Vita.
Table Tennis Olympics Medal Target
11Even Sports’ co-promoter and former national men’s singles champion, Niraj Bajaj, said that he personally wanted to give something back to the sport.
“This is the best thing to have happened to table tennis over the last fifty years. This league will give players the opportunity to play with the best in the world. We want to take table tennis to the next level and want India to win a medal in the 2024 Olympic Games,” Bajaj said.
Dani said the costliest player would be paid Rs 20 lakh and the cheapest Rs 2.5 lakh.
“We have committed ourselves to run the league for ten years,” she added.
Another former multiple-time national champion, Kamlesh Mehta, who is a director of 11Even Sports, said the League was being set up to help India win an Olympic medal in 2024.
Ultimate Table Tennis Squads
RP-SG Mavericks: Stefan Fegerl (Austria), A. Sharath Kamal (India), Tiago Apolonia (Portugal), Sofia Polcanova (Austria); Sabine Winter (Germany), Archana Kamath, Birdie Boro, Amrutha Pushpak (all India).
Coaches: Peter Engel (Germany), Sachin Shetty (India)
Maharashtra United: Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong), Liu Jia (Austria), Yu Fu (Portugal), Harmeet Desai (India); Joao Monterio (Portugal), Krittwika Sinha Roy, Pooja Sahasrabudhe, Ronit Bhanja (all India).
Coaches: Ferenc Karsai (Hungary), Arup Basak (India)
Dabang Smashers T.T.C: Marcos Freitas (Portugal), Hu Melek (Turkey), Kou Lei (Ukraine), G. Sathiyan; A. Amalraj, Madhurika Patkar, Mousumi Paul (all India), Tetyana Bilenko (Ukraine).
Coaches: Ilija Lupulesku (USA), N. Ravichandran (India)
Oilmax-Stag Yoddhas: Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong), Panagitis Gionis (Greece), Aruna Quadri (Nigeria); Manika Batra (India), PolinaA� Mikhailova (Russia), Jubin Kumar, Abhishek Yadav; SelenaA� Selvakumar (all India).
Coaches: Vesna Ojstersek (Slovenia) , Sandeep Gupta (India)
Bayside Spinners T.T.C.: Wu Yang (China), Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong), Par Gerell (Sweden), Sanil Shetty (India); Liam Pitchford (England), Sutirtha Mukherjee, Arjun Ghosh, Priyadarshani Das (all India).
Coaches: Francisco Santos (Portugal), Soumyadeep Roy (India)
Challengers: Han Ying (Germany), Petrissa Solja (Germany), Soumyajit Ghosh (India), Andrej Gacina (Croatia); Mouma Das, Manav Thakkar, Moumita Dutta (all India), Li Ping (Qatar).
Coaches: Elena Timina (Netherlands), Muralidhara Rao (Challengers).