World number seven Wong Chun Ting and World Championship medalist Petrissa Solja head a list of 24 home and 24 international players confirmed for the inaugural Ultimate Table Tennis League in India next month.
The competition is the first ever professional table tennis league to be staged in the country.
It is seeking to emulate the success of similar events in other sports, such as the annual Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.
Wong, the Hong Kong star who reached the men’s singles quarter-finals at the World Championships which closed here on Monday (June 5), is the leading men’s entrant.
Portuguese duo Marcos Freitas and Tiago Apalonia are also entered along with the likes of Stefan Fegerl of Austria and Olympic quarter-finalist and African number one Quadri Aruna of Nigeria.
Sharath Kamal Achanta, ranked 44th in the world, is the leading home player set to compete.
On the women’s side, Germany’s Chinese-born world number nine Han Ying is the top entered player.
China’s Wu Yang, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Germany’s world mixed doubles bronze medalist Petrissa Solja are other top ranked entrants.
Manika Batra is the leading Indian player.
Six franchises will select a total of eight male and female players through a special draft system.
Competition will then take place in three stages across three different cities.
A first leg will be held in Chennai from July 13 to 20.
A second stop is scheduled for New Delhi from July 21 to 26 and a third in Mumbai from July 27 to 30.
“These are exciting times for us at Ultimate Table Tennis as we inch closer to the launch of the first ever professional table tennis league in India,” said Vita Dani, chair of tournament promoters 11Even Sports.
“We have received an overwhelming response from foreign players and also have a strong pool of Indian talent.
“We are ready to kick off what promises to be one of the most entertaining sporting events.”
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.