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Wong Chun Ting, Han Ying among 24 foreign players for Ultimate Table Tennis

Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong
Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong
World no. 7 Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong and world no. 9 Han Ying of Germany will lead the pack of top men and women players, respectively, in Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country's first ever professional table tennis league that will be held in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai from July 13.
 
Wong was last year's bronze medalist in the Men's World Cup. At the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships in Duesseldorf, Germany, Wong reached the quarter-finals in men's singles and won a bronze medal in mixed doubles alongside Doo Hoi Kem who is also a part of UTT. 
 
Germany's Petrissa Solja won a bronze for the host country in mixed doubles alongside Fang Bo from China. The last time a German won a mixed doubles medal was in 1971 making the victory extra special for Solja who is ready for her new challenge at UTT. 
 
Han Ying will be the top billing among the women in the inaugural edition of the league that will begin in Chennai.  
 
The table tennis extravaganza will comprise six franchisees and will be hosted in Chennai (July 13-20), New Delhi (July 21 to 26) with the final leg being held in Mumbai (July 27 to 30).
  
India’s Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra will lead the list of 12 men and 12 women from the country out of a strong pool of 48 players. The Indian duo of Manika Batra and Mouma Das created history  at Germany by becoming the first Indian pair to reach the quarter-finals of the World Table Tennis Championships. 
 
Each team will have eight players — four men and four women — with an equal mix of overseas and Indian players, apart from a foreign and an Indian coach.
 
"These are exciting times for us at the Ultimate Table Tennis as we inch closer to the launch of the first ever professional TT league in India. We have received an overwhelming response from foreign players and have a strong pool of Indian talent also. We are ready to kick off what promises to be one of the most entertaining sporting events," said Vita Dani, Chairperson, 11Even Sports.
 
Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Co-Promoter of UTT and a three-time national table tennis champion, said, “We have a great pool of talent participating in the inaugural season of UTT. Supporting the players are world class Indian and international coaches who have guided national teams to medals in the past. The format provides a great opportunity for Indian players to play alongside top international players which will help their growth tremendously.”
 
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, Ilija Lupulesku, 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.   
 
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There will be 15 league matches, with each tie played on a nine individual match basis. Each individual match will consist of three games on a race to 11 with each game winner being awarded one point. Each league match will have 27 points to play for and the four franchisees with highest points in the league stage will advance to the semi-finals. The champion will receive Rs. 1 crore, runner-up Rs. 75 lakh and the losing semifinalists Rs. 50 lakh each. The remaining Rs. 25 lakh, from a total purse of Rs. 3 crore, will be presented to individual performers.
 
Each franchisee will get to pick eight players through a draft that will be conducted on June 9, 2017 to ensure balance of strength for each franchisee. 
 
The following is the list of players:
 
Overseas players: 
 
Men: 1. Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong, World No. 7), 2. Marcos Freitas (Portugal, World No. 16), 3. Tiago Apolonia (Portugal, World No. 19), 4. Stefan Fegerl (Austria, World No. 21), 5. Kou Lei (Ukraine, World No.24), 6. Panagiotis Gionis (Greece, World No.36), 7. Aruna Quadri (Nigeria, World No. 37), 8. Andrej Gacina (Croatia, World No.38), 9. Par Gerell (Sweden, World No.44), 10. Li Ping (Qatar, World No. 48), 11. Joao Monteiro (Portugal, World No. 49), 12. Liam Pitchford (England, World No. 51)
 
Women: 1. Han Ying (Germany, World No.9), 2. Wu Yang (China, World No.12), 3. Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong, World No.13), 4. Hu Melek (Turkey, World No.15), 5. Liu Jia (Austria, World No. 17), 6. Petrissa Solja (Germany, World No.20), 7. Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong, World No. 33), 8. Yu Fu (Portugal, World No.35), 9. Li Qian (Poland, World No. 37), 10. Sabine Winter (Germany, World No.39), 11. Polina Mikhailova (Russia, World No.54), 12. Tetyana Bilenko (Ukraine, World No.56)
 
Indian players: 
 
Men: 1. Sharath Kamal Achanta, 2. Soumyajit Ghosh, 3. Harmeet Desai, 4. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, 5. Amalraj Anthony, 6. Sanil Shetty, 7. Jubin Kumar, 8. Manav Thakkar, 9. Ronit Bhanja, 10. Birdie Boro, 11. Arjun Ghosh, 12. Abhishek Yadav
 
Women: 1. Manika Batra, 2. Mouma Das, 3. Madhurika Patkar, 4. Pooja Sahasrabudhe, 5. Suthirtha Mukherjee, 6. Mousumi Paul, 7. Krittwika Sinha Roy, 8. Archana Kamath, 9. Moumita Dutta, 10. Amurtha Pushpak, 11. Priyadarshini Das, 12. Selena Deepti Selvakumar
 
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