Six franchisees will look to lock in the best combinations for Season 4 of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) when the Season 4 Player Draft gets underway at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai on Friday.
The draft will feature a total of 40 players of which 36 will be available for selection after the retentions of Achanta Sharath Kamal (Chennai Lions), G. Sathiyan (Dabang Delhi TTC), Manika Batra (Bengaluru Smashers) and Manav (U Mumba TT) was utilised by four of the six franchisees.
The draft will be attended by the UTT co-promoter Vita Dani and Table Tennis Federation of India Secretary General Kamlesh Mehta, alongside franchise owners and Indian table tennis players Sharath Kamal, Manika, Manav Thakkar and Diya Chitale.
Each team can draft two foreigners – one male and one female; and four Indians – two male and two female, to complete their six-member squad.
Only Goa Challengers and Puneri Paltan Table Tennis will be eligible to pick in Round 1 of the Player Draft.
The draft pool comprises a diverse array of talent, including top international and Indian paddlers.
Among the foreign players to watch out for are: Quadri Aruna (WR16) from Nigeria, Alvaro Robles (WR43) of Spain, who won the doubles silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, and USA’s Lily Zhang (WR24).
Among Indians, the key players in the draft include Sreeja Akula, who has won back-to-back national titles, Harmeet Desai, a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2018 and 2022 Commonwealth Games, and exciting young talents such as the U-19 boys national champion Payas Jain, Diya Chitale, S Fidel R Snehit, and Ankur Bhattacharjee.
The franchise-based league is promoted by Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani under the auspices of the Table Tennis Federation of India and will be broadcasted live on Sports 18 and streamed on Jio Cinema.
Bengaluru Smashers, Chennai Lions, Dabang Delhi TTC, Goa Challengers, Puneri Paltan Table Tennis and U Mumba TT will be part of the UTT Season 4, scheduled at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune from July 13 to 30.
Foreign Players - Men
- Quadri Aruna (NGR)
- Kirill Gerassimenko (KAZ)
- Benedikt Duda (GER)
- Jon Persson (SWE)
- Alvaro Robles (ESP)
- Omar Assar (EGY)
Foreign Players - Women
- Lily Zhang (USA)
- Suthasini Sawettabut (THA)
- Natalia Bajor (POL)
- Barbora Balazova (SVK)
- Hana Matelova (CZE)
- Yangzi Liu (AUS)
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