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Like Kabbadi, first professional TT league will glamourise game, says India no 4 Pooja Sahasrabudhe

India’s 4th ranked paddler Pooja Sahasrabudhe is lone player from Pune to be picked up for the Maharashtra United team to play in the first-ever Ultimate Table Tennis League. UTT will be the country’s first professional tennis league 

pune Updated: Jun 13, 2017 14:26 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
kabbadi,professional,table tennis
Pooja Sahasrabudhe in action.(HT Photo)

Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) — the country's first ever professional table tennis league will add the much needed glamour to the sport, like it did for Kabaddi and other sports, says India’s 4th ranked player Pooja Sahasrabudhe.Pooja also believes that this league will be a good learning experience for Indian players as some of the world's biggest stars will be seen in action.

“Despite having quality international players, the sport has not been widely popular in our country. But this league will change the scenario,” said Pooja.

Pooja, who is the lone Pune player to feature in the league, is quite excited to get picked up by the Maharashtra United team, owned by the Rajesh Wadhawan Group.

“It’s good to be a part of your state team. It gives you a homely feeling. Moreover, we have men’s World No 7 Wong Chun Ting, five-time Olympian Austrian woman paddler Liu Jia and India no 4 men’s player Harmeet Desai taking part in the competition. Indian coach Arup Basak and renowned coach Ferenc Karsa will guide the team,” she said.

Yu Fu (Portugal), Joao Monteiro (Portugal), Krittwika Sinha Roy (India) and Ronit Bhanja (India) are the other members of the team.

“We would get a chance to play along with and against world class players. Indian players shouldn’t miss the opportunity to interact with them, as this will be a huge learning experience for us,” said Pooja, who is basically a Mumbai player, but shifted her base to Pune after marrying former international table tennis player Aniket Koparkar.

Talking about her teammates, she said, “Harmeet is currently in fine form. He is world no 81 and playing strong. I had played a mixed doubles matches with him and he is a terrific player.”

Asked about the other teams, Pooja said that each team is well balanced and is equally strong.

“Team Mavericks have ace Indian Sharath Kamal while Dabang Smashers have picked up Sathiyan (Gnanasekaran), Amalraj (Anthony) and Madhurika (Patkar). So, each team is strong on paper, it depends on how they perform on a particular day,” Pooja, who is now preparing for her Zonal Tournament to be held in Indore from June 19, said.

Pooja’s career highlights

Twice national champion (U-17 in 2006; U-21 in 2009)

Silver medal in the Women's Doubles at the Commonwealth Youth Games, Pune in 2008

Gold medal in team event and silver medal in women's doubles at the 2010, South Asian Games

Bronze medal at the ITTF World Tour, Morocco Open

Gold medal in team event and bronze medal in women's doubles at 3rd Fajr Cup 2014, Iran

Gold medal in team event (part of PSPB team), gold medal in mixed doubles along with fellow PSPB teammate Harmeet Desai and silver medal in the singles at the 77th Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships at Hyderabad, India

Two gold medals in team event and in mixed doubles event at the 2016 South Asian Games held at Shillong, India

Member of the Indian National Women's Table Tennis Team for the 2014 and 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships, and for Asian Team Championships in 2015

Strap- India’s 4th ranked paddler Pooja Sahasrabudhe is lone player from Pune to be picked up for the Maharashtra United team to play in the first-ever Ultimate Table Tennis League.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 16:43 IST