Table Tennis league named ultimate Ping Pong Championship


Table tennis will join the ranks of cricket, football, badminton and kabaddi, when the inaugural Ultimate Ping Pong Championship gets underway, come July.

According to a Times of India report, a total of six teams will vie for top honours in the competition that will be conducted between 13th and 30th July across three cities. The franchise-based league will be promoted by 11Even Sports (ESPL), the Mumbai-based company, which has entered into a 10-year-agreement with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to develop and promote the sport in the country.

The promoters have identified two cities – Delhi and Mumbai – but are yet to zero in on the third. Bengaluru and Chennai, however, are strong contenders to occupy that spot. A total of 15 league games, a couple of semifinals and the final will be played during the 18day event.

The tournament will carry a prize money of 3 crore and ESPL is keen on signing up as many players as possible from the top 50 in the world. As per the format, a total of 48 players -24 men and an equal number of women -will be signed up for the league. Twenty four of them will be from India and the rest from abroad. To promote youngsters, every team will have to compulsorily field a U-21 player.

“Through Ultimate Ping Pong Championship, we are embarking on an exciting journey of transforming table tennis from being largely a recreational activity in India to a mainstream sport,” Vita Dani, chairperson, ESPL, told TOI on Thursday.

“The success of the recently concluded ITTF World Tour India Open in Delhi gives us the confidence for creating a compact and permanent fixture in the international calendar window for an Indian origin world level event. We are working on adding a few innovative concepts which would bring in audience excitement and newer challenge to the participants,” she added.