Wong, Ying to headline TT league; Sharath, Manika lead host’s presence

World No. 7 Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong) and ninth-ranked lady Han Ying (Germany) will be the marquee names in the inaugural “Ultimate Ping Pong” – country’s first-ever professional table tennis league – to be held at three centres in July.

Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong is the top ranked player in the inaugural edition of India’s first-ever professional table tennis league.   -  Getty Images

World No. 7 Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong) and ninth-ranked lady Han Ying (Germany) will be the marquee names in the inaugural “Ultimate Ping Pong” – country’s first-ever professional table tennis league – to be held at three centres in July.

A Sports Ministry official confirmed on Thursday that the event has been cleared on no-cost-to-government basis.

The league, comprising six franchises, will take place in Chennai’s SDAT Indoor Stadium (July 13-20), New Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium (July 21 to 26) and Mumbai’s NSCI (July 27 to 30).

Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra head the list of 12 men and 12 ladies from the host nation out of the pool of 48 players.

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 a Indian coach.

There will be 15 league matches, with each tie played on a best-of-nine match basis. Each match will be played on a best of three games, with each game consisting of 11 points.

Four teams with highest points in the league will advance to the semifinals. 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 for individual performers.

Since the players are already contracted for an agreed amount, there will be no auction. The players will be drafted into various teams to ensure balance of strength for each franchisee.

Overseas players (with country, current world ranking):

Men: 1. Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong, 7), 2. Marcos Freitas (Portugal, 16), 3. Apolonia Tiago (Portugal, 19), 4. Stefan Fegeri (Austria, 21), 5. Kou Lei (Ukraine, 24), 6. Gionis Panagiotis (Greece, 36), 7. Aruna Quadri (Nigeria, 37), 8. Andrej Gacina (Croatia, 38), 9. Par Gerell (Sweden, 44), 10. Li Ping (Qatar, 48), 11. Joao Monteniro (Portugal 49), 12. Liam Pitchford (England, 51).

Women: 1. Han Ying (Germany, 9), 2. Wu Yang (China, 12), 3. Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong, 13), 4. Liu Jia (Austria, 15), 5. Hu Melek (Turkey, 17), 6. Petrissa Solja (Germany, 20), 7. Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong, 33), 8. Yu Fu (Portugal, 35), 9. Li Qian (Poland, 37), 10. Sabina Winter (Germany, 39), 11. Daniela Dodean Monteiro (Romania, 47); (A Chinese player is expected to be added).

Indian players:

Men: A. Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai, G. Sathiyan, A. Amalraj, Sanil Shetty, Jubin Kumar, Manav Thakkar, Abhishek Yadav, Arjun Ghosh, Ronit Bhanja and Birdie Boro.

Women: Manika Batra, Mouma Das, Archana Kamath, Madhurika Patkar, Suthirtha Mukherjee, Krittwika Sinha Roy, Amurtha Pushpak, Pooja Saharabudhe, Mousumi Paul, Moumita Dutta, Priyadarshini Das and S. Selenadeepthi.

Coaches: (Overeas) Peter Engel (Germany), Elina Timina (Netherlands), Ferenc Karsai (Hungary), Francisco Santos (Portugal), Vesna Ojstersek (Slovenia) and Ilija Lupulesku (USA); (Indians): Arup Basak, Muralidhar Rao, N. Ravichandran, Sachin Shetty, Sandeep Gupta and Soumyadeep Roy.