India’s newest franchise sports league CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) is set for its inaugural season from July 13-30 2017 to promote and enhance the sport of table tennis in the country. After the positive impact of India Open 2017, held in New Delhi in February 2017, CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis aims to take the sport of table tennis to greater heights with support from Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) which has provided a dedicated window for the League. CEAT UTT is owned and developed by 11Even Sports Private Limited (ESPL), a Mumbai based company exclusively formed for the promotion and development of the game of Table Tennis in India. It will strive to be a world-class league that inspires the youth, entertains and engages fans, drives development at grassroots level and delivers value to all stakeholders. Unlike other major sporting leagues being run in the country currently like IPL and ISL, CEAT UTT will have club based franchises rather than city based franchises. The league will be broadcast live on Star Sports Select 2 HD, Star Sports Select 2, Hotstar and JioTV.
League Promoters – Vita Dani, Chairperson, 11Even Sports Pvt. Ltd. And Niraj Bajaj, Arjuna Awardee, 3 time National Table Tennis Champion and Promoter-Director, Bajaj Group of Companies
Top Men’s Player – World No.7 Wong Chun Ting, will play for DHFL Maharashtra United
Top Women’s Player – Han Ying of Germany, will play for Shazé Challengers
Inching closer to the much-anticipated inaugural edition of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis, India’s newest franchise-based professional sports league, 24 foreign players and 24 Indian players (both men and women) were drafted into six different franchises on June 9, 2017.
Second highest ranked in the men’s category Marcos Freitas of Portugal will play for Dabang Smashers T.T.C and India’s face of table tennis Sharath Kamal who was among the major attractions in men will turn up for RP-SG Mavericks. Among the 24 foreign players, 21 of them are Olympians with iconic women players Han Ying of Germany and Wu Yang of China in the fray. Highest ranked women’s player Han Ying will play for Shazé Challengers while Wu Yang, the only player from China, will represent Falcons TTC
The list of foreign coaches includes former player Elena Timina, currently the coach of Dutch ladies table tennis team, Peter Engel, former Head Coach of Netherlands, IlijaLupulesku, current National Coach of the Serbian team, Francisco Santos who coached Joao Geraldo of Portugal to a bronze medal in singles and doubles at the European Youth Championships, Belgium national coach for men Ferenc Karsai as well as former Yugoslavia international Vesna Ojsteršek.
The six franchises are –
Dabang Smashers T.T.C by Mrs. Radha Kapoor Khanna of DolT Sports
RP-SG Mavericks co-owned by Mr. Sanjiv Goenka of RP-SG Group and Mr.Utsav Parekh
DHFL Maharashtra United by The Rajesh Wadhawan Group
Falcons TTC by the Consortium comprising of The Owners’ of I-league club “Chennai City Football Club” Mr.Rohit Ramesh (Shareholder Director of the The Hindu Group) and Mr.Krishnakumar R (Chartered Accountant and Entrepreneur) and Mr.RajuPoosapati and Mr. Krishna from Transend Sports League Private Limited.
Oilmax-Stag Yoddhas by Mr. Kapil Garg, Chairman and Managing Director, Oilmax Energy and Mr. Vivek Kohli of Stag International
Shazé Challengers by Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group
Dates: July 13 to 30, 2017
Cities: Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. The first two legs will be held in Chennai (July 13-20) and Delhi (21-25) before CEAT UTT shifts base to Mumbai (26-30) for the Finale.
Format: The event will be played in an interesting format where each team will play nine matches in a Tie with each match comprising 3 Games. Consequently, each Tie shall comprise 27 Games. Each game shall have players competing with each other to score 11 points first, meaning in the event that scores are level at 10-all then the 11th point will be a Golden Point and shall decide the winner. Whichever individual/pair scores 11 points and is termed as the winner of each Game shall receive one point towards the Team’s total for each such game that is won. The winning team in a Tie shall be decided by the number of total games won i.e. total points won in the relevant Tie. The Team that wins 14 or more Games out of the 27 Games shall be the Winner of that respective Tie.
The top four Teams from the League Table will qualify for the Play-Off Ties. The Play-Off Ties will comprise two semi-finals. The victorious Team from each of the semi-finals shall compete in the Final to determine the UTT champions for the inaugural season.
Each franchise will comprise of a combination of overseas and Indian players- four men and four women, along with one Indian and one International Coach each.