THE ANTICIPATION to witness India’s first ever professional table tennis league ends as the inaugural edition of CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis is ready to roll on Thursday, July 13, at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. The opening day will be graced by the Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, India’s chess maestro, who will be present to watch the Falcons TTC lock horns with RP-SG Mavericks in what promises to be a nail-biting face-off.
While the Falcons TTC boasts of World No.13 among women Wu Yang in their line-up apart from Indian trail blazers in Sanil Shetty, Arjun Ghosh, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Priyadarshini Das and foreign recruits Lee Ho Ching, Par Gerell and Liam Pitchford, team RP-SG Mavericks will be heavily backed by Chennai audience as it features home-grown hero Sharath Kamal Achanta. The team under the tutelage of Sachin Shetty and German Peter Engel features Birdie Boro, Archana Kamath and Amrutha Pushpak as part of Indian contingent while Apolonia Tiago, Stefan Fegerl, Sabine Winter and Sofia Polconova form their foreign line-up.
Both teams are equally poised in terms of experience and youth but what will set them apart is their planning and strategizing to use different combinations that will prove vital in determining the winner of the inaugural match. Sharath Kamal expressed,
“The team has gelled well over the past few days and we are eager to start the league. Personally, I am very excited as I have not played in front of my home crowd for more than a decade. The format is quite fast-paced and interesting and we obviously look forward to start on a winning note.”
The format is short and exciting where each team will play nine matches in a Tie with each match comprising 3 Games. Consequently, each Tie shall comprise 27 Games. Each game shall have players competing to score 11 points first, meaning if scores are level at 10-all then the 11th point will be a Golden Point and shall decide the winner. Whichever individual/pair scores 11 points and is termed as the winner of each Game shall receive one point towards the Team’s total for each such game that is won. The winning team in a Tie shall be decided by the number of total games won i.e. total points won in the relevant Tie. The Team that wins 14 or more Games out of the 27 Games shall be the Winner of that respective Tie. Sanil Shetty of Falcons TTC, stated,
“The lead up to the Ultimate Table Tennis has been a very enriching experience as most of us have got to interact with our idols in the sport and even play a couple of practice matches here in Chennai. We are all set for the first match and I can assure you it will be top class entertainment and action.”
UTT is India’s newest franchise-based professional sports league which will see 24 foreign players and 24 Indian players (both men and women) playing for six different franchises. While Chennai will host the first leg of India's first ever professional Table Tennis League at Nehru Indoor Stadium from July 13-20, the second leg will be played in Delhi at Thyagraj Sports Complex between July 21-25. The last and the final leg of the league will be held in Mumbai starting July 26 until 30 with the Semi Finals and Final of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis to be played in Mumbai city at the NSCI.