New Delhi: The third edition of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) is set for a grand beginning, with defending champions Dabang Delhi TTC clashing with Puneri Paltan TT in a high-voltage opening encounter here on Thursday.
India’s top players and a number of foreign stars will battle it out over the next three weeks with an eye on the cash purse of Rs 2 crore, with the winners taking home a cool Rs 75 lakh.
Sathiyan G. (Dabang Delhi), Manika Batra (RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata), Sharath Kamal (Chennai Lions) and Harmeet Desai (Puneri Paltan) will hope to play the key roles in a rejigged format that places the onus on Indian players. UTT is enriched with the presence of World No. 8 Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei (Goa Challengers) and World No. 12 Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong (U Mumba TT) among the women and Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (Puneri Paltan), Kirill Gerassimenko (U Mumba TT) and Benedikt Duda (RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata) among men.
Among the six teams in the fray, three of them (Puneri Paltan TT, Chennai Lions and U Mumba TT) will be making their debut while Goa Challengers have rechristened themselves.
In the opening match, Sathiyan-led Delhi will go all out to begin their title defence when they take on Puneri Paltan that boast of the recently-concluded Commonwealth TT gold medalists Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee.
Also for the first time, the UTT will adopt the city-based league culture, with all six teams from different cities. The league will be played on a round-robin cum knockout format, with the semis on August 9 and 10 and the final on August 11.