Table tennis is attempting to break ranks by becoming a more spectator-friendly sport and helped on its way towards that is the formation of newer tournaments and leagues across the world. One such table tennis league is the India-based UTT or the Ultimate Table Tennis League which was set up in 2017. All the information about the Ultimate Table Tennis League including the teams, format, schedule, previous results and the involved players can be found below.
What is the Ultimate Table Tennis League (UTT)?
The Ultimate Table Tennis League is a professional, table tennis league which is played in India since 2017. It was conceptualized by a company by the name of 11Sports and is held in conjunction with the Table Tennis Federation of India. Official website here.
Much like the T2 Diamond Table Tennis league, the purpose of the Ultimate Table Tennis League is to get table tennis to make a foray into the homes of sports fans, to spread the sport of table tennis as a viable career option.
With a lofty vision to be able to help the country win a medal by the 2024 Olympics, UTT wants to inspire the next generation to take up table tennis but at the same time be an entertaining sporting option for the fans.
Currently, table tennis is a recreational sport in India and UTT is looking to bridge that gap and convert it into a mainstream sport. The UTT chairperson Vita Dani, explained:
“Working closely with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), we have put in place a sound structure for Indian Table Tennis that includes extensive grassroots activities and development, all the way up to Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), which provides our domestic players a great opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best players and improve their game.”
Previous Editions of the Ultimate Table Tennis League
The first ever season of the Ultimate Table Tennis League was held in 2017 and since then it has been played each of the following two seasons before the coronavirus pandemic. Below are details of how things went in each of the seasons.
This was the first edition of the Ultimate Table Tennis League and hosted across three cities in the form of Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Unlike its latest avatar in 2019, the tournament teams weren’t based on cities; instead they were clubs like Falcons TTC who won the title by beating Shaze Challengers in the final.
A total of 15 ties were held during the group stage of the competition with the top four qualifying for the semifinals. The Falcons defeated DHFL Maharashtra United while Shaze Challengers overcame Dabang Smashers TTC in the last four.
The second edition of the UTT saw three cities host the competition yet again but there were two new cities involved in Pune and Kolkata with Delhi continuing to host the event as well. There were a few changes to the team lineups, with the inclusion of the Goa Challengers and Dabang Smashers getting rechristened to Dabang Delhi TTC.
Dabang Delhi TTC defeated Falcons TTC in the final to win the title.
In the third season of the UTT, the organizers opted to make the competition snappier by having only the capital city of Delhi hosting all the encounters. Six teams participated in the tournament but the Ultimate Table Tennis League moved from being a club-based competition to city-based teams.
Teams played five ties each in a round-robin format with the top four sides making it to the semifinals. Each tie would have five matches, beginning with the women’s singles and followed by men’s singles, mixed doubles, men’s singles and women’s singles.
This table tennis league was held between July 25 and August 11, with the semifinals played on August 9 & 10 and the grand final hosted on August 11.
Each of the six teams in action had four local players (from India) and two other overseas players contracted for the duration of the competition. Some of the top players who participated in this edition of the Ultimate Table Tennis League included Bernadette Szocs, Sabine Winter, Petrissa Solja, Manika Batra, Moumita Dutta and Sharath Kamal among others.
- Puneri Paltan: Harmeet Desai (India), Ayhika Mukherjee (India), Selena Selvakumar (India), Ronit Bhanja (India), Sabine Winter (Germany), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei)
- Dabang Delhi: Sathiyan G. (India), Parth Virmani (India), Naina (India), Krittwika Sinha Roy (India), Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Jon Persson (Sweden)
- Mavericks Kolkata: Manika Batra (India), Manush Shah (India), Prapti Sen (India), Sanil Shetty (India), Benedikt Duda (Germany), Matilda Ekholm (Sweden)
- Chennai Lions: Sharath Kamal (India), Madhurika Patkar (India), Yashini Sivasankar (India), Anirban Ghosh (India), Petrissa Solja (Germany), Tiago Apolonia (Portugal)
- Goa Challengers: Archana Kamath (India), Amalraj Anthony (India), Siddhesh Pande (India), Shruti Amrute (India), Alvaro Robles (Spain), Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei)
- U Mumba: Manav Thakkar (India), Sutirtha Mukherjee (India), Jeet Chandra (India), Moumita Dutta (India), Kirill Gerassimenko (Kazakhstan), Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong)
Chennai Lions won this edition of the UTT league by beating Dabang Delhi TTC in the final 8-1. Here’s the points table at the end of the league stage of the 2019 Ultimate Table Tennis.
Current Format of UTT League
- The aforementioned six teams will fight it out with each other in a round-robin competition with the top four making it to the semifinals.
- Each tie – i.e. between two teams – will consist of five matches; two men’s singles, two women’s singles and one mixed doubles match.
- Each match will consist of three games with each game played to 11 points.
- At 10-10 the player winning the next point wins the game.
- All 15 games in a tie will be played during the league stage irrespective of the scoreline.
- In the semifinals and final, the team winning 8 games first wins the tie
How to Watch the UTT League Live Streaming?
If you are in India or in the Indian subcontinent, you can tune in to Star Sports to be able to watch the UTT League live on television and Hotstar app for the live streaming of the tournament. Outside the Indian subcontinent, the tournament will be streamed live on Facebook Live.
What about the UTT League in 2020?
More information about the next season of the Ultimate Table Tennis League is still awaited. Given the way things have shaped up with the coronavirus pandemic, the entire table tennis calendar might see a rejig but fingers crossed the fun and excitement with the UTT competition can continue the way it has over the past three years.