Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
Full squad list after the draft

The player drafts for the upcoming season of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) was held in Mumbai today and the eight franchises have picked their teams ahead of the new season.

With two new teams in the fray, the teams resorted to more strategizing in order to get their combinations right.

The fifth edition of UTT is scheduled to be held from August 22 to September 7 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.

A total of 48 players, including 16 foreigners, will be in action as teams finalized their six-member squads after the Player Draft.

Jaipur pick Sreeja, Puneri Paltans bag Ahyika

Newcomers Jaipur Patriots, who got the first pick in Round 1, went for in-form Indian paddler and current World No. 25 Sreeja Akula, who recently became the first Indian to clinch a WTT Contender singles title.

Ahmedabad SG Pipers, the other franchise to make their UTT debut, went for Manush Shah as their first choice and then bagged the services of women’s World No. 10 Bernadette Szocs of Romania in the second round.

Puneri Paltan Table Tennis, who chose not to retain a player, picked Ayhika Mukherjee to kick off proceedings.

U Mumba TT went with the tried and tested formula by once again picking Nigerian star paddler and World No. 19 Aruna Quadri.

They also picked Asian Games bronze medallist Sutirtha Mukherjee.

Bengaluru secure Alvaro Robles and Lily Zhang

PBG Bengaluru Smashers will have Alvaro Robles of Spain and Lily Zhang of the USA to support their retained star Manika Batra.

“I am extremely happy with the squad we have got,” said Bengaluru Smashers owner Punit Balan.

“Having retained Manika Batra, we have managed to pick the experienced duo of Alvaro Robles and Lily Zhang as foreign internationals, with Anthony Amalraj and Jeet Chandra the perfect support cast for Indian men’s paddlers,” he added.

“Talented young paddler Taneesha Kotecha also comes as a great addition, and we are confident that this team will present a strong challenge,” he concluded.

New look Goa Challengers

Defending champions Goa Challengers, who had retained India star Harmeet Desai ahead of the draft, have a completely new look.

They picked Yangzi Liu of Australia alongside young Indian paddlers Yashaswini Ghorpade and Sayali Wani.

Mihai Bobocica of Italy, who had competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, will be their foreign men’s paddler.

Last edition’s runners-up Chennai Lions have also gone for a fresh look, with Japan’s Sakura Mori, Frenchman Jules Rolland, and local stars Poymantee Baisya, Mouma Das, and Abhinandh PB joining Indian table tennis legend Achanta Sharath Kamal, who was retained by the team.

“We have a very mature team, some youngsters as well, but generally a very mature team. I’m quite happy with the picks that we’ve got considering the spot,” said GS Ravi, owner of Chennai Lions.

Exciting season ahead

With the player drafts concluded, all that is left for is to have these paddlers congregate at the capital city of Tamil Nadu and let the action unravel.

The enthusiasm was shared by UTT promoters Vita Dani and Niraj Bajaj.

“Ultimate Table Tennis’ only aim is to help Indian table tennis progress and we are focused on creating a platform that goes beyond the league, supporting the entire ecosystem, including coaches, academies, and tournaments,” they said.

They added that “This is the first time we have eight teams, and we want to make this even bigger and better. We wish all the teams the best of luck for the upcoming season.”

Full list of squads of Ultimate Table Tennis 2024

Ahmedabad SG Pipers: Manush Shah, Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Lilian Bardet (France), Reeth Tennison, Pritha Vartikar, Jash Modi.

Chennai Lions: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sakura Mori (Japan), Jules Rolland (France), Poymantee Baisya, Mouma Das, Abhinandh PB.

Dabang Delhi TTC: Sathiyan G, Orawan Paranang (Thailand), Diya Chitale, Andreas Levenko (Austria), Yashansh Malik, Lakshita Narang.

Goa Challengers: Harmeet Desai, Yangzi Liu (Australia), Yashaswini Ghorpade, Sudhanshu Grover, Sayali Wani, Mihai Bobocica (Italy).

Jaipur Patriots: Sreeja Akula, Cho Seungmin (South Korea), Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand), Snehit SFR, Ronit Bhanja, Moumita Dutta.

PBG Bengaluru Smashers: Manika Batra, Alvaro Robles (Spain), Lily Zhang (USA), Jeet Chandra, Taneesha Kotecha, Amalraj Anthony.

Puneri Paltan Table Tennis: Ayhika Mukherjee, Nina Mittelham (Germany), Joao Monteiro (Portugal), Ankur Bhattacharjee, Anirban Ghosh, Yashini Sivashankar.

U Mumba TT: Manav Thakkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Aruna Quadri (Nigeria), Akash Pal, Kavyasree Baskar, Maria Xiao (Spain).

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By TFW

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