Indias top-ranked male paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal (WR 51) and Asian Games bronze medallist Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (WR56) are among the four players retained by their respective franchises for the Season 4 of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) to be held in Pune next month.
Defending champions Chennai Lions have retained ten-time national champion, Sharath Kamal, while UTT Season 3 finalists Dabang Delhi TTC have decided to continue with Sathiyan at the fore.
Among others, India's star female paddler Manika Batra (WR39) has been retained by Bengaluru Smashers with the retention transfer originating from her former franchise, while Asian Games bronze medallist Manav Thakkar will continue at U Mumba TT.
"I am extremely happy to have been retained by Dabang Delhi TTC for the UTT Season 4 and this will be my fourth consecutive season for Dabang Delhi. The most unforgettable moment was certainly winning the championship point for Dabang Delhi in Season 2 and taking the UTT crown.
I am eagerly looking forward to playing for the Delhi family again and winning the UTT this year," Sathiyan Gnanasekaran said after being retained by his team.The franchise-based league, promoted by Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani under the auspices of the Table Tennis Federation of India, will be played at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune from July 13-30.
Season 4, will feature six teams: Bengaluru Smashers, Chennai Lions, Dabang Delhi TTC, Goa Challengers, Puneri Paltan Table Tennis and U Mumba TT.With the recently concluded UTT Season 4 Coach Draft, where franchises were able to pick up two coaches each, conducted; attention now turns towards building a six-player squad at the UTT Season 4 Player Draft to be held in Mumbai next month.
There will be a pool of 40 players available, from which each team can pick two foreigners -- one male and one female and four Indians -- two male and two female.