Dabang Delhi begin defence of their UTT title in season opener

The third edition of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) will begin on Thursday when defending champions Dabang Delhi lock horns with Puneri Paltan in the season-opener here.

India’s top paddlers including Sathiyan G, Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal and a number of foreign stars will battle it out over the next three weeks in the league which offers prize purse of Rs 2 crore.

Among the six teams in fray, three of them (Puneri Paltan, Chennai Lions and U Mumba) will be making their debut.

In the opening match, Sathiyan-led Delhi will begin the defence of their title when they take on Puneri Paltan that boast of the recently-concluded Commonwealth Championship gold medallists Harmeet Desai and Ahyika Mukherjee.

Sporting a rejigged shorter format this season, each team will play five ties — compared to seven last year — with a match decided over three games. If the scores are tied at 10-all, a golden point shall decide the winner.

The league will also adopt the city-based league culture, for the first time, with all six teams from different cities.

“I feel immensely happy to see table tennis grow leaps and bounds in recent times. Having a league like the UTT that combines the best of talent and skill, makes it a great platform for youngsters to flourish. It will also boost India’s Olympic medal hopes,” said Prem Verma, working president of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).