Sharath Kamal picked by RP-SG Mavericks in Ultimate Table Tennis player draft
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Sharath Kamal picked by RP-SG Mavericks in Ultimate Table Tennis player draft

India’s No.1 men’s table tennis player Sharath Kamal was selected by RP-SG Mavericks while the women’s No 1 Madhurika Patkar will represent Dabang Smashers in the player draft of the Ultimate Table Tennis competition.

other sports Updated: Jun 10, 2017 10:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sharath Kamal,Ultimate Table Tennis,Table Tennis
Sharath Kamal, who led the Indian Table Tennis contingent for the world championships in Dusseldorf, has been selected by the RP-SG Mavericks in the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament which will be conducted for 10 years.(Getty Images)

India No 1 Sharath Kamal was selected by RP-SG Mavericks while world no 7 Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong was picked by the Maharashtra United franchise and in the player draft of the Ultimate Table Tennis on Friday.

Wong had won a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event at the world championships held in Dusseldorf, Germany earlier this month while Kamal led the Indian contingent at the same event.

The top ranked women’s player in the pool, world No 9 Han Ying of Germany, will play for the Challengers franchise while the only Chinese representative in the league, Wu Yang (women’s world No 12), was the very first pick of the draft, going to Bayside Spinners TTC.

A total of 24 foreign players and 24 Indian players (12 men and 12 women in each) were drafted by the six franchises, each team picking eight players.

Indian women’s No 1 Madhurika Patkar will represent Dabang Smashers while the third-highest rated woman in the field, Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong (world No 13), went to Oilmax-Stag Yoddhas.

“I am excited to be selected by the Dabang Smashers for the Ultimate Table Tennis. The team has good players and I’m thrilled to play alongside them. This league will definitely help the sport prosper in India,” Madhurika was quoted as saying in a press release.

The league is scheduled to be conducted for 10 years with each team paying 2.6 crore rupees every year as franchisee fees. Players will earn between 1.5 and 20 lakhs.

Speaking to reporters at the event, former multiple Indian men’s singles champion Niraj Bajaj said that the long-term aim of the league was to help produce an Indian medal-winner at the 2024 Olympics.

“This is the best thing to have happened to table tennis (in India) over the last fifty years. This league will give players the opportunity to play with the best in the world. We want to take table tennis to the next level and want India to win a medal in the 2024 Olympic Games,” said Bajaj, co-promoter for the league.

Fellow former multiple national champion Kamlesh Mehta felt the league format was geared towards giving Indian players an opportunity to learn from their international counterparts. “The league affords the chance for Indian players to train and play together with foreign players for 21 days. This league is not only being supported by the Table Tennis Federation of India but also by the Asian and World TT bodies,” Mehta said at the press conference.

“We have got a dedicated window (June-July) to conduct the league every year. This is a unique league where each team will be a mix of men and women,” he added.

The first stage of the league will be in Chennai (July 13 to 20), the second leg in New Delhi (July 21 to 26) and the final leg in Mumbai (July 27 to 30).

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 10:41 IST