MUMBAI: In the Ultimate Table Tennis League, new owners are hoping to tap into nostalgia and bank on a brighter future. Into its third season now, the league has attracted names that may be new to table tennis but have some experience in running sports clubs.
At the forefront is Shrinivas Dempo, who was at the helm while running I-League team Dempo SC. Also coming on board are U Sports, who own U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi league and Suresh Kotak of InsureKot Sports — owners of Puneri Paltan kabaddi team.
“The League format in itself has a lot of appeal (for investors). It is only for a limited amount of time, you know it is marketed well,” said Dempo, during the UTT Player draft.
G Sathiyan was the only player to be retained, staying with Dabang Smashers (rechristened Dabang Delhi this year). While RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata picked Manika Batra, Chennai Lions pounced for local hero Achanta Sharath Kamal.
Given the first pick, Goa opted for the top-ranked player in the pool, Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei (world no 8.) Mumbai picked the second-highest ranked in World No 11 Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong. The organisers have made the format even shorter. Each tie will consist of five matches instead of seven and the teams will have the freedom to field any player (Indian or foreign).