By Neha Aggarwal
Ovtcharov had a rough year in 2016, but has gained his momentum back as he won a hat-trick of titles earlier this year winning the Euro Top 20, the Swiss Open and then then Seamaster ITTF World Tour India Open in a span of one month. Post the World Championship in Dusseldorf from 29th May-5th June 2017, he will be a part of the the T2 APAC League to be held in Hong Kong.
Reacting to the news, Dima said, “I’m excited to participate in this new format of the sport and play against so many top players of our time. I think it will bring an exciting ‘fantasy table tennis’ element that will invigorate the game that will attract new fans and give lifelong supporters more to cheer about.”
T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League 2017 is recognized and supported by the ITTF, the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU), and the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association (HKTTA) and will feature 24 world class players, 12 men’s and 12 women’s players.
Competing in separate but concurrent men’s, women’s, and mixed-team league competitions, the first season will comprise of 228 men’s and women’s singles matches played entirely in Hong Kong from July to December 2017, and during breaks in the current international and domestic table-tennis calendars.
This inaugural league is touted as the richest table tennis league, with a prize money of USD $ 1.5 million.
The format of the matches will be time bound. Each match is limited to 24 minutes, where players try to win as many games as possible within the duration. All players will play in separate but concurrent singles and mixed-team championships in a league format. All players will go through a draft selection process which will be selected by team captains.
Frank Ji, Chairman of T2APAC too expressed his satisfaction about the rising popularity of the league. He said “It is exciting to see how quickly the T2APAC is growing in stature with the addition of a major table tennis star, and Ovcharov is one of the best in the world that elevates our event to a world-class star-studded tournament. We’re proud of the way we’re gradually revolutionizing the sport, and we have much more to announce in the following weeks that will get fans excited.”
This star studded league has already signed the following players: Timo Boll (Germany), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei), Joo Sae Hyuk (South Korea), Jun Mizutani (Japan), Feng Tianwei (Singapore), Chen Chien-an (Chinese Taipei), Paul Drinkhall (England), Elizabeta Samara (Romania), Yang Haeun and Jeon Jihee (South Korea), Aleksandr Shibaev (Russia), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Georgina Pota (Hungary), Matilda Ekholm (Sweden), Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand) and Mattias Karlsson (Sweden).
More players will be announced soon to complete the roster of 24 world class players.
Information taken from t2apac.com.