By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The organizers of the lucrative CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis League in India, has confirmed Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri as one of the top players that has signed up for the season two of the championship.
Come June, some of the world’s finest table tennis stars will descend on Indian soil for the much-awaited second season of CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis. The country’s first ever professional table tennis league was very well received by all the players, respective International Federations and audiences in its inaugural season.
Reflecting the excitement for the tournament among players, four of last year’s players- men’s world no. 20 Aruna Quadri & world no. 34 Kou Lei along with women’s world no. 22 Sofia Polcanova and world no. 72 Sabine Winter already re-signed for the second edition. They’ll be looking to win the coveted title which they couldn’t lay their hands on in the inaugural season. A few new additions have been made to the second season as well with the most notable players being men’s world no. 37 Alvaro Robles from Spain along with women’s world no. 20 Georgina Pota and world no. 25 Matilda Ekholm who have previously been a part of Seamaster ITTF India Open. Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota had won the doubles title at Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open in New Delhi
African Champion and one of the best offensive players on the table, Aruna Quadri, has had a great run in 2017 having won the Polish Open and achieved a World ranking of 20- the best in his career so far. He played for Oilmax Stag Yoddhas in the inaugural season where he went on to win a total of 198 points for his team. Oilmax Stag Yoddhas finished last season at fifth place.
Joining Aruna for the second edition of CEAT UTT is World No. 34 Kou Lei who plied his trade alongside Marcos Freitas for the Dabang Smashers T.T.C. Kou Lei recently won the Oman Fibre Optic International Open held in Muscat. He scored a total of 174 points during the first edition to help Dabang Smashers T.T.C reach third position in the league. Women’s world no. 22 Sofia Polcanova and world no. 72 Sabine Winter are back for the second season as well. They played alongside ace Indian paddler Sharath Kamal for RP-SG Mavericks last season and together scored 416 points for the team that finished at the bottom of the league table.
Mr. Dushyant Chautala, President, TTFI and Mr. M.P. Singh, Secretary General, TTFI are anticipating more world class players to come to India for the second edition. They said, “We have received very positive feedback from the players and Table Tennis Federations on the success of the inaugural season and we look forward to host more world class players this year. CEAT UTT has acted as a springboard for the Indian Players’ development by providing great exposure of playing alongside top ranked international players.”
Mrs. Vita Dani and Mr. Niraj Bajaj, Co-Owners of CEAT UTT are elated with the new signings,. Mr. Niraj Bajaj, former national champion, said, “We are extremely glad to have signed Aruna Quadri, Kou Lei, Sofia Polcanova and Sabine Winter for another edition and look forward to welcoming the new players to India for the second season. CEAT UTT received a great response and we are already seeing a lot of excitement among players to come and play this season. We have already signed players from the top world 50 and want to make this a great learning platform for the Indian players who play alongside these top foreign athletes. The recent success of Indians in national and international tournaments drives us to build a bigger and better tournament and to support the development of table tennis in India.”
The six franchises for CEAT UTT are Dabang Smashers T.T.C., RP-SG Mavericks, DHFL Maharashtra United, Falcons TTC, Oilmax-Stag Yoddhas and Shaze Challengers. Falcons TTC emerged champions of the inaugural CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis.