Ultimate Table Tennis raises hope for paddlers

Table tennis too has taken the plunge, setting up Ultimate Table Tennis. In the six-team league’s first player draft held on Friday, the higher rated athletes got Rs 20 lakh, while the lower ranked players got just Rs 1.5 lakh

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai | Updated: June 10, 2017 10:21 am
table tennis league, ultimate ping pong, ittf, ttfi, ittf world tour india open, thomas weikert, sports news, sports other news, indian express In the six-team tournament, each franchise is made up of four Indian and four international players – including the likes of world No.7 men’s player, Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong, and women’s world No.9 Ying Han of Germany. (File Photo)

Following the trend of launching lucrative sporting tournaments, table tennis too has taken the plunge, setting up Ultimate Table Tennis.

Unlike other sports, though, its marquee competition doesn’t boast of big money. In the six-team league’s first player draft held on Friday, the higher rated athletes got Rs 20 lakh, while the lower ranked players got just Rs 1.5 lakh.

In contrast, in its third auction held a few weeks ago, the Pro Kabaddi League franchises were provided a purse of Rs 4 crore, resulting in a player (Nitin Tomar) walking away with a whopping sum of Rs 93 lakh.

Yet even through the comparatively smaller amounts, there is a vast scope of benefits players are looking forward to.

At 33, India No.2 Mouma Das has spent years paying for her equipment. “Most players have companies providing them with TT bats, but I don’t,” says the world No.131. “I have to save for it from whatever I get at tournaments to change the rubbers on the bat. It wears off after every week or two. So, you have to keep changing it once every tournament.”

The cost of changing the rubber is around Rs 4500, yet that stands as a cheaper prospect as compared to the travel expenses players incur while on tour. In a year, the national team is sponsored by the Federation for four to five events.

“For a player, you need to take part in at least nine to keep your ranking up,” says G Sathiyan, only the second Indian after Achanta Sharath Kamal to win a Pro Tour event. “The bigger tournaments are all abroad, and you spend about Rs 2 lakh.”

It’s also in those self-sponsored competitions that the players have to hire the services of physiotherapists, trainers or coaches whenever required. It’s only before the federation-supported events that a national camp is organised for the players.

“Sometimes you do get a few niggles or your game isn’t going right. So, you do need that support,” adds the 24-year-old.

In the six-team tournament, each franchise is made up of four Indian and four international players – including the likes of world No.7 men’s player, Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong, and women’s world No.9 Ying Han of Germany.

Exposure for Indian players

And it’s the prospect of sharing the bench with such players that Kamlesh Mehta asserts is the “greatest exposure.’

“You will have these players cheering for you, guiding you, and then you get to see how they play, train, and handle situations,” says Mehta, former India coach who has played a key role in the creation of UTT.

In terms of the finances, there are no concrete plans yet about increasing the figures in the coming years. “We have to take it one year at a time for now,” Mehta says.

But at the same time, the UTT has been keenly supported by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

So much so that when the idea of the marquee league was introduced to the world body two years ago, the July window was kept open to scheduling the event. “They simply liked the idea. Since we spoke to them two years ago, they made sure the 2017 calendar didn’t have any major ranking events at this time.”

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  1. G
    Gabbar
    Jun 18, 2017 at 11:05 am
    Another boorish comment Strong believer in Chinese coaching style. He should think of what it has achieved for India. The answer is a big 0. The kind of money spent and the output we have got is a big 0. he should know it is public money that he has wasted nothing else. Until and unless we abandon this hopeless association and appoint suitable professionals who can manage, have honesty and above all INDIA as motto, not my state , religion, caste nothing is going to move. I do not think Mr. Roy gives confidence. Behind his back are the same people with no vision and lack character.
    Reply
    1. G
      Gabbar
      Jun 15, 2017 at 9:28 am
      Just by deleting images and messages from ttfi will not do TTFI. Public sab jaanti hai.
      Reply
      1. K
        Kalia
        Jun 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm
        There will hardly be any sympathy for the TT players apathy because they never complained about the corrupt system but they want support from countrymen. No body will. Kamal kar diya Kamaal ke logon ne.
        Reply
        1. G
          Gabbar
          Jun 13, 2017 at 8:30 am
          Let me first put in how the existing facilities offered to the sportspeople are misused. Railway Concession : The club owner(mostly coach) takes responsibility of booking train tickets and gets subsidized tickets and then charges full amount to children. This is rampant. Intended beneficiary never receives any benefit but is pocketed by honourable coaches. This is rampant. Technical Training . When not even 10 people are in Top 500 but no of technical officials you will see are in disproportionate number who are anually allocated amount for training . What is there to be updated of except once a decade changes . Government must not give any money for the sports where only numbers are there but no performance. We must cut flab. Physical Teachers and Coaches. Where govt provides subsidy to students for sports the Physical Teacher of the said college cuts a deal with the coach of the club and they share the spoils. I know of students coimg from 30 kms to get trainining in TT.Ridiculous.
          Reply
          1. G
            Gabbar
            Jun 13, 2017 at 7:23 am
            First let me add my thoughts on how the various schemes for the sportsperson are siphoned away by undeserving people in active cooperation with administrators, coaches, physical teachers of ins utions. a) Railway Concession for sports people. Here very few people take this but railways will see that almost 80 percent utilize this. In this coaches in active league with people they get railway concession on tickets booked by them for their club players who are charged full amount. Hardly any student goes to stand the w day to get railway concession. Rampant and the facility misused. b) Scholarship. A list must be prepared of students/sportspeople who are getting scholarships from various govt ins utions and their notable achievements in sports. Huge mismatch , people perform at state level and do not even parti te at national level most of times and still get scholarships which they are not en led to. To be contd....
            Reply
            1. K
              Kalia
              Jun 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm
              Next we will talk of Conflict of Interest.
              Reply
              1. G
                Gabbar
                Jun 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm
                Prize Money especially at the state level. There is a sudden announcement of cash prizes towards the end of tournament and mostly these prizes are sponsored by NGOs and not so worthy ins utions where money is usually transacted in cash. The Sports Ministry must have a strict criteria about the prize and according to me it should only be transferred to the beneficiary account. No photoops with undeserving people who get on the stage because of corrupt administrators who game the system to the detriment of all sports persons.
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kalia
                  Jun 12, 2017 at 6:16 am
                  Another piece of news item appeared some time back tucked quietly in a corner. Some Coaching centre in Kolkata sponsored by Coke will initially be trained by Indians and then Chinese. I wondered why Chinese. What have they contributed to Indian TT. They were there for a decade in various capacities in Centre of Excellence and see what their wards are doing. Is it that we Indians no Chinese better. We must get the person who wants to produce champions in India , and definitely not the Chinese. Argentina won the mens World Cup not by getting Australian , English or German coaches but hard nosed determined Argentinian. Govt must not sanction any of these projects as these are just there to keep the things the same with only politics and in the end nothing will come out. Hopeless Idea TTFI.
                  Reply
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