Ultimate Table Tennis league to have fourth season in July

Ultimate Table Tennis league to have fourth season in July

Table tennis league Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) is set to return after a three-year hiatus and is scheduled to be held in July this year in Pune.

The franchise-based league is promoted by Niraj Bajaj, chairman of Mukand Limited, and Vita Dani, chairperson of 11EVEN Sports, under the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI). The league first began in 2017.

The league has seen Indian players like Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Manav Thakkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Manika Batra in its earlier seasons. Five of the six franchises will participate in the upcoming edition including U Mumba TT, Puneri Paltan Table Tennis, Goa Challengers, Dabang Delhi TTC and RPSG Mavericks Kolkata.

The league also has a new franchise — Bengaluru Smashers — owned and promoted by Punit Balan who heads the Punit Balan Group which is also an investor with franchises of Ultimate Kho-Kho, Tennis Premier League and the Premier Handball League.

Niraj Bajaj said: “Our main goal was to popularise the sport in India. And the ever-increasing positive responses season by season were heartening to see. It’s unfortunate that the league couldn’t take place after 2019 but here we are again; as committed as we were on the first day in 2017 to take table tennis in this country to the next level. And to add another world class league to this vast mix in India.”

The league was last played in Delhi in 2019 where Chennai Lions, headed by Indian table tennis player Sharath Kamal won the third edition by beating Sathiyan’s Dabang Delhi TTC in the final. The second edition was won by Dabang Delhi TTC led by Manika Batra and Sathiyan, while Falcons TTC won the first edition.

“We are absolutely delighted to announce the return of the league. The pandemic put the league to a tough halt. But after three long years, our efforts to popularise and grow the sport in India will continue. Hand in hand with the federation, we will continue to provide a platform for talent in the country,” Vita Dani said.

TTFI president Meghna Ahlawat and secretary general Kamlesh Mehta said in a joint statement: “The federation is happy to support, and encourage a league that is determined to grow the game in India. This has helped put India on the world map in regards to hosting a world class event in the country and attracting the finest talent from the world.“

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