Table tennis

Ultimate Table Tennis: Here’s all you need to know about the teams for the second season

Players from 19 different nationalities will be competing in the league and amongst them are 24 Olympians.

The second edition of Ultimate Table Tennis is set to begin on Thursday. The tournament will begin in Pune with defending champions Falcons TTC taking on Maharashtra United in the opener.

The league will be played in three cities across the period of 18 days. The Pune leg will go on till June 19 after which the competition will shift to the Delhi from June 20 to June 25. The business end of the tournament will take place in Kolkata from June 26 to July 1, which will include the semi-finals and finals.

Players from 19 different nationalities will be competing in the league and amongst them are 24 Olympians, 19 National champions and 17 No 1 ranked players of their respective countries. A hefty prize of Rs 3 crore is up for grabs as well.

Seven matches makeup a tie, with an Indian player taking on a foreign player from the other team in each category (four matches, with reverse fixtures included), foreign players taking on each other (two matches), and one mixed doubles fixture with one Indian and one foreign player on each side.

The skippers of the respective teams are Achanta Sharath Kamal for Warriors TTC, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran for Dabang Smashers TTC, Liam Pitchford for Falcons TTC, Simon Gauzy for Empowerji Challengers, Harmeet Desai for RP-SG Mavericks and Joao Monteiro for Maharashtra United.

Here is a look at how the teams shape up.

Dabang Smashers TTC

Foreign coach: Andrei Filimon

India coach: Sachin Shetty

Indian players: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Sanish Ambekar, Archana Girish Kamath, Manika Batra

Foreign players: Sakura Mori, Masaki Yoshida, Adriana Yamila Diaz Gonzalez, Cedric Nuytinck

Lead by India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Dabang Smashers is a team to watch out for this season. With Manika Batra also in the squad, they have the most exciting Indian contingent in the league. In Sanish Ambekar and Archana Kamath, the latter recently qualifying for Youth Olympic Games, they have invested in the future as well. Their foreign group of players is being led by World No 28 Sakur Mori of Japan. She along with Batra will be a force to reckon with. They have also roped in junior World No. 10 Adriana Yamila Diaz Gonzalez.

Empowerji Challengers

Foreign coach: Peter Engel

India coach: A Muralidhara Rao

Indian players: Manav Thakkar, Arjun Ghosh, Divya Chandrashekhar Deshpande, Prapti Sen

Foreign players: Lee Ho Ching, Tiago Apolonia, Gerogina Pota, Simon Gauzy

With World No 12 Simon Gauzy of France leading the team, the onus is on the youngsters to perform. All eyes will be on India’s Manav Thakkar who recently qualified for the Youth Olympic Games. The World No 2 junior player along with Arjun Ghosh will carry the weight of performing well. Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, who is ranked 18th in the World, make up the men’s contingent. Experienced veteran Gerogina Pota of Hungary along with India’s Divya Chandrashekhar Deshpande and Prapti Sen will follow the footsteps of World No 20 Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong.

Falcons TTC

Foreign coach: Vesna Ojstersek

India coach: Soumyadeep Roy

Indian players: Sanil Shetty, Ronit Bhanja, Priyadarshini Das, Sutirtha Mukherjee

Foreign players: Liam Pitchford, Brenadette-Cynthia Szocs, Matilda Ekholm, Alvaro Robles Martinez

Falcons, might be defending champions, but they will be looking to punch above their weight as 24-year-old and World No 49 Liam Pitchford leads the squad. He will have India’s Sanil Shetty in his corner, who was part of the Commonwealth Games team that bagged eight medals in Australia. Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm will chip in with her vast experience with Sutirtha Mukherjee, also part of the historic gold-medal winning squad at Gold Coast, will provide the Indian touch.

Maharashtra United 

Foreign coach: Francisco Santos

India coach: N Ravichandran

Indian players: Amalraj Anthony, Utkarsh Gupta, Madhurika Patkar, Selena Selvakumar

Foreign players: Joao Monteiro, Elizabeta Samara, Kristian Karlsson, Lily Ann Zhang

Led by Portugal’s Joao Monteiro, Maharashtra United will take on the Falcons in the tournament opener on Thursday. The squad also includes Indian veteran Amalraj Anthony, who will be eager to prove his class on the big stage. In Elizabeta Samara, they have a three-time European champion leading the women’s division. She will find able partners in Madhurika Patkar and youngster Selena Selvakumar.

RP-SG Mavericks

Foreign coach: Elena Timina

India coach: Arup Basak

Indian players: Harmeet Desai, Siddesh Pande, Mouma Das, Ayhika Mukherjee

Foreign players: Sabine Winter, Doo Hoi Kem, Kou Lei, Mattias Karlsson

RP-SG Mavericks have World No 20 Mattias Karlsson (Sweden), Doo Hoi Kem and Mouma Das in their ranks. They will be captained by India’s Harmeet Desai, the third-highest ranked Indian man, who will want to prove his mettle as a leader. Sabine Winter of Germany and Kou Lei of China can also spring a surprise on their day. Lei is currently ranked 33 in the men’s division. They will take on Empowerji Challengers in their opener.

Warriors TTC 

Foreign coach: Ferenc Karsai

India coach: R Rajesh

Indian players: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Ravindra Kotiyan, Pooja Koparkar, Sreeja Akula

Foreign players: Chin-Yuan Chuang, Hana Matelova, Quadri Aruna, Sofia Polcanova

Warriors are favourites to lift the title this year with Sharath Kamal, enjoying a phenomenal run of form, leading the team. His squad comprises World No. 15 Chuang Chin-Yuan of Chinese Taipei, World No. 22 Aruna Quadri of Nigeria and World No. 18 Sofia Polcanova of Austria. The squad also includes Olympic athlete Hana Matelova of Czech Republic and India’s Pooja Sahasrabudhe who will also play crucial role as the team progresses.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.