UTT Draft: 48 players picked up by eight teams

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Mumbai, July 10 (PTI) After careful selection through the Player Draft, the Ultimate Table Tennis franchises on Wednesday picked up 48 players, including 16 foreigners, who will be seen in action in the UTT 2024 to be held in Chennai from August 22 to September 7.

The eight teams will have six players each in their roster for this year’s event.

This season has seen the addition of two new teams in Jaipur Patriots and Ahmedabad SG Pipers.

The Patriots made their presence felt drafting in in-form India star and current World No. 25 Sreeja Akula, who recently became the first Indian to clinch a WTT Contender singles title.

The Ahmedabad outfit signed Manush Shah and then bagged the services of women’s World No. 10 Bernadette Szocs of Romania.

“Today’s Player Draft is a testimony to the fact that some of the best players in the world now want to come and play in the UTT.

“This is the first time we have eight teams, and we want to make this even bigger and better,” said UTT promoters Vita Dani and Niraj Bajaj.

Defending champions Goa Challengers, who had retained India star Harmeet Desai ahead of the draft, picked up Yangzi Liu of Australia alongside young Indian paddlers Yashaswini Ghorpade and Sayali Wani.

Mihai Bobocica of Italy, who had competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, will be their foreign men’s paddler.

The Squads ========= Ahmedabad SG Pipers: Manush Shah, Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Lilian Bardet (France), Reeth Tennison, Pritha Vartikar, Jash Modi.

Chennai Lions: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sakura Mori (Japan), Jules Rolland (France), Poymantee Baisya, Mouma Das, Abhinandh PB.

Dabang Delhi TTC: Sathiyan G, Orawan Paranang (Thailand), Diya Chitale, Andreas Levenko (Austria), Yashansh Malik, Lakshita Narang.

Goa Challengers: Harmeet Desai, Yangzi Liu (Australia), Yashaswini Ghorpade, Sudhanshu Grover, Sayali Wani, Mihai Bobocica (Italy).

Jaipur Patriots: Sreeja Akula, Cho Seungmin (South Korea), Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand), Snehit SFR, Ronit Bhanja, Moumita Dutta.

PBG Bengaluru Smashers: Manika Batra, Alvaro Robles (Spain), Lily Zhang (USA), Jeet Chandra, Taneesha Kotecha, Amalraj Anthony.

Puneri Paltan Table Tennis: Ayhika Mukherjee, Nina Mittelham (Germany), Joao Monteiro (Portugal), Ankur Bhattacharjee, Anirban Ghosh, Yashini Sivashankar.

U Mumba TT: Manav Thakkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Aruna Quadri (Nigeria), Akash Pal, Kavyasree Baskar, Maria Xiao (Spain). PTI UNG ATK ATK

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