Defending champion Delhi Debang to take on Puneri Palatan in the  opener of third edition of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) 

Harpal Singh Bedi
 

New Delhi: Defending champions Delhi Debang.  will  open their campaign in defence of their title  by taking on formidable  Puneri Paltan in a high-voltage contest on the first day of the  third edition of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) here on Thursday.

Country’s  top players and a number of foreign stars will battle it out over the next three weeks for the top honours in a Rs 2 crore prize money tournament with title winner assured of  Rs 75 lakh.

Among the six teams in the fray, three of them (Puneri Paltan TT, Chennai Lions and U Mumba TT) will be making their debut while Goa Challengers have rechristened themselves.

Sathiyan G. (Dabang Delhi), Manika Batra (RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata), Sharath Kamal (Chennai Lions) and Harmeet Desai (Puneri Paltan) will hope to play the key roles in a rejigged format that places the onus on Indian players.
UTT  will see in action  World No. 8 Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei (Goa Challengers) and World No. 12 Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong (U Mumba TT) among the women and Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (Puneri Paltan), Kirill Gerassimenko (U Mumba TT) and Benedikt Duda (RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata) among men.

In the opening match, Sathiyan-led Delhi will go all out to begin their title defence when they take on Puneri Paltan that boast of the recently-concluded Commonwealth TT gold medalists Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee.

In the shorter format this year, each team will play five ties — compared to seven last year — with a match decided over three games. If the scores are tied at 10-all, a golden point shall decide the winner. The order of the play will be women’s singles, men’s singles, mixed doubles, men’s singles and women’s singles.

Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI)working president Dr Prem Verma expressed happiness as the top stars gather in the capital for the three-week extravaganza.
“I feel immensely happy to see table tennis grow leaps and bounds in recent times. Having a league like the UTT that combines the best of talent and skill, makes it a great platform for youngsters to flourish. It will also boost India’s Olympic medal hopes,” he told media persons here on Wednesday


Also for the first time, the UTT will adopt the city-based league culture, with all six teams from different cities. The league will be played on a round-robin cum knockout format, with the semis on August 9 and 10 and the final on August 11.

Teams;

Dabang Delhi .: Sathiyan G. , Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Jon Persson (Sweden), Parth Virmani ., Naina , Krittwika Sinha Roy,
 
Puneri Paltan : Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei), Harmeet Desai , Ayhika Mukherjee , Selena Selvakumar , Ronit Bhanja , Sabine Winter (Germany)
Chennai Lions: Sharath Kamal , Petrissa Solja (Germany), Tiago Apolonia (Portugal), Madhurika Patkar , Yashini Sivasankar , Anirban Ghosh
RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata: Manika Batra , Benedikt Duda (Germany), Matilda Ekholm (Sweden), Manush Shah , Prapti Sen , Sanil Shetty
U Mumba TT: Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong), Manav Thakkar , Sutirtha Mukherjee (India), Kirill Gerassimenko (Kazakhstan), Jeet Chandra , Moumita Dutta
Goa Challengers– Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei), Archana Kamath , Amalraj Anthony , Siddhesh Pande , Shruti Amrute), Alvaro Robles (Spain).

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