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11Even Sports to launch Ultimate Ping Pong in July 2017

File photo of Indian table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh
File photo of Indian table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh
11Even Sports Pvt. Ltd. (ESPL), a company formed exclusively to promote table tennis in India, today announced the launch of its new franchise league, Ultimate Ping Pong (UPP), with support from the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
 
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has provided a dedicated window for UPP, a press release from ESPL said.
 
The release said the inaugural season would be played from July 13 to July 30, 2017 in three cities -- Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai -- and will witness participation from six franchises. The first two legs will be held in Chennai and Delhi before UPP shifts base to Mumbai for the finale.
 
UPP will feature a total of 48 world class paddlers (24 men’s players and 24 women’s players) including 24 Indians. Each franchise will comprise eight paddlers - two Indian men players, two Indian women players, two foreign men players and two foreign women players. They will battle it out for the ultimate championship and prize pool of US$ 450,000 (about INR 3 crore), making it the highest ever prize money for a table tennis event in the country.
 
ESPL recently concluded India’s first ever Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open with support of TTFI in Delhi in February 2017 and with UPP it hopes to take table tennis to a larger audience in the country. 
 
Niraj R. Bajaj, one of the Promoter Directors of Bajaj Group, Chairman and Managing Director, Mukand Ltd., has come on board with ESPL as a co-promoter of UPP. His interest in UPP and vision to promote table tennis in India stems from his days as a three-time national champion. An Arjuna Award recipient, he has represented India from 1970 to 1977, being captain for the last four years. 
 
“Table tennis is close to my heart and I have been contributing to the development of the sport. With Ultimate Ping Pong I found the right platform to begin our journey in making India a medal contending nation in table tennis at the Olympics," Bajaj said.
 
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Ms. Vita Dani, Chairperson, ESPL, said, “We are extremely glad to move forward in promoting table tennis in India with the introduction of Ultimate Ping Pong. We received great feedback both nationally and internationally with the way India Open was organised and UPP will take the sport to greater heights with fans getting to witness 48 of the top paddlers.”
 
ITTF President Thomas Weikert said, “ESPL recently organised Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open very productively and we received great feedback from various participating players and coaches. We wish all success to Ultimate Ping Pong and look forward to increase the reach and interest of the game in India.”
 
Mr. Dushyant Chautala, President, TTFI, added, “We are extremely proud to be associated with the Ultimate Ping Pong as it is one of the most premier events for the sport ever to be held on an annual basis in India. We thank 11Even Sports for their efforts to build table tennis and are sure that UPP will act as a catalyst to build everyone’s interest in the sport and get youngsters interested to play the game."
 
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