Pune: Manika Batra, who took nation by storm with her golden performance at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games wherein she won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze, is enjoying the celebrity status at moment and now she hopes to earn more medals to make table tennis popular.
“I always wanted celebrity status. The life has changed after CWG success, earlier people were not used to follow TT to a great extent, but now they are following it. I hope, I can earn more medals to make the game popular,” said Manika at the jersey launch of the Dabang Smashers TTC at the Badminton Hall of Balewadi Sports Complex here on Monday.
The Season 2 of Ultimate Table Tennis will begin on Thursday with Maharashtra United taking on Falcons TTC.
Dabang Smashers will start their campaign on June 16 when they face Warriors TTC on the third day of the Pune Leg.
Delhi-based team will be led by India’s highest world ranked men’s player, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
“It’s an honour and a pleasure to lead such a talented side. I am really looking forward to this season as captain of Dabang Smashers TTC. We are confident we can challenge for the title this year. We have young side which will be plus point for us,” said Sathiyan.
Along with Sathiyan and Manika, Delhi team will have Japanese duo of Yoshida Masaki and Sakura Mori in their side. Archana Kamath and Sanish Ambekar are two young faces in the team.
7 match format
The Season 1 of the league saw players competing in best-of-11 sets over 27 points in one tie, which was a bit lengthy. For the Season 2 the organisers have curtailed the contests to best-of-seven set over 21 games per tie.
“The changes are brought in to make league more interesting. Earlier the league was a bit lengthy but now with seven match format it will be a challenge for the players to score wins,” explained Sachin Shetty coach of Dabang Smashers, which emerged as the youngest team among six contestants.