Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra will compete for RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata while star paddler Sharath Kamal was grabbed by new-entrants Chennai Lions for the third season of the Ultimate Table Tennis, set to begin from July 25 in New Delhi.
Mavericks Kolkata also picked star Indian player Sanil Shetty and teen sensation Manush Shah, who is ranked 11th in Under-18 boys’ category.
The Dabang Delhi TTC decided to retain 25-year-old Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and hence the franchise did not get a chance to pick a player in the first round of the draft.
Each of the franchise had to pick six players. Among the notable foreign picks was Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, who will play for U Mumba, another new entrants in the league along with Puneri Paltan, who picked seasoned Harmeet Desai.
German player Petrissa Solja will play for Chennai Lions along with Portuguese player Tiago Apolonia.
UTT chairperson Vita Dani said apart from national federations including the Table Tennis Federation of India, the league has got support from Bundesliga, who have adjusted and accommodated with the league’s dates to avoid a clash.
This year the format has been tweaked and there will be only five matches in a tie compared to seven in the previous season. Also, the event will be held only in one city Delhi unlike three cities last year.
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Kamlesh Mehta, a former national TT champion and Director UTT, said they wanted the players to be fresh and wanted best from them.
Chennai Lions: Sharath Kamal, Petrissa Solja, Tiago Apolonia, Madhurika Patkar, Yashini Sivasankar, Anirban Ghosh.
Dabang Delhi TTC: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Bernadette Szocs, Jon Persson, Parth Virmani, Naina, Krittwika Sinha Roy.
Goa Challengers: Cheng-I-Ching, Archana Kamath, Amalraj Anthony, Siddhesh Pandey, Shruti Amrute, Alvaro Robles.
Puneri Paltan Table Tennis: Chaung-Chih Yuan, Harmeet Desai, Ayhika Mukherjee, Selena Selvakumar, Ronit Bhanja and Sabine Winter.
RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata: Mainka Batra, Benedikt Duda, Maltida Ekholm, Manush Shah, Prapti Sen and Sanil Shetty.
U Mumba TT: Doo Hoi Kem, Manav Thakkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Kirill Gerassimenko, Jeet Chandra and Moumita Dutta.