by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Six teams, each team possesses eight players, two men from foreign associations, two from India; it is the same for the women.
Representing Oil Max Stag Yoddhas, owned by Vivek Kohli; Quadri Aruna lines up alongside Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the Indian male players being Jubin Kumar and Abishek Yadav; the female players are Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, who join forces with the host nation’s Manika Batra and Selena Selvakumar.
The first fixture for Oil Max Stag Yoddhas is on Saturday 15th July in Chennai against Maharashta United. Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Portugal’s João Monteiro alongside India’s Harmeet Desai and Rohit Banja form the male selection, for the women it is Austria’s Liu Jia and Portugal’s Fu Yu who ally with the home country’s Ktittwika Sinha Roy and Poja Sahabradudhe.
An intriguing contest, as is the very nature of the franchise system; it is one that has certainly motivated the 28 year old Nigerian star.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF Africa Press Officer
I am so excited being selected as one of the 12 male foreign players in the maiden international table tennis league in India. My selection as the only black and African player means a lot to me; it is a rare opportunity for me to play alongside some of the best players in the world. There is no doubt that it is going to be a tough challenge for me but I am ready to give my best as usual to justify my selection as well as surpass all expectations in the championships.
Playing with some of the top players is like playing in the top European league particularly playing against players with different styles.
I believe this league will help me to improve my tactics and I am hopeful of a good outing for my team with an experienced player like Panagiotis Gionis. With the quality of players, the league is as strong as any top European league and I know it is going to be tough. I look forward to a fantastic tournament and also enjoy myself in a different atmosphere.
Ultimate Table Tennis: The Teams (as on Saturday 8th July)
Ultimate Table Tennis: The Fixtures (Commence on Saturday 15th July)
Ultimate Table Tennis: Competition Format (as on Saturday 8th July)
Ultimate Table Tennis: Starts on Thursday 13th July