COMING BACK to India for the first-ever professional league, Engel admitted that the table tennis movement in India is headed in the right direction. Peter Engel expressed jovially,
“I am really thrilled to see many of the Indian players’ progress so well though some of them are beating players from my team.”
The 63-year-old German, who was part of the RP-SG Mavericks team at the recently concluded CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis, was part of the Indian contingent in 2014 and as national coach, he was responsible for guiding top guns in table tennis to some memorable feats.
"Professional leagues are a great step forward in terms of bringing the right exposure to your players. While there are many Indians who are playing regularly in the Europeans leagues, it is important to have a league of this kind in India to create the excitement around the sport and the Ultimate Table Tennis has achieved it to a large extent.”
Engel further added,
“Though just hosting a league alone will not fetch great results internationally, at least, you are preparing your players to face-off with the best in the business and there is so much one can learn during the league of this kind.”
Elena Timina of Netherlands who coached the Shazé Challengers to the final of the first-ever professional league categorically stated that she was impressed with the organization of the league. Timina, who is a former international player, expressed,
“The organisers have done an exceptional job in terms of carrying out the league which is on par with the ones played in Europe. They have also put in a lot of thought behind the kind of player pool which was critical. Though we did not win the final, I am happy with the performance of our team as well as to see many Indian players hold their nerves against top international stars. While I think the Indian men are already on par with international standards, the women can benefit a lot from leagues like these. They have great talent but need to pay more attention to their fitness levels.”
Meanwhile, Indian coach Arup Basak who was with the DHFL Maharastra United expressed that this was the best platform for the Indian women to play against the best defensive paddlers in the world.
“With best of the Chinese-origin players like Han Ying and Wu Yang taking part in the league, this was the best opportunity for our Indian women to learn as much because rarely do our girls ever get to train against best defensive players. Most of our Indian women are attackers and to learn to play against chopper will help them a great deal in international matches.”