PANAJI: Reigning Olympic champions Ma Long and Chen Meng of China in the men’s and women’s section, respectively, will be among the big names that have confirmed their entries for the World Table Tennis Star Contender scheduled to be held on February 27 in Goa.
The week-long tournament at the country’s tourist hub will be conducted at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium.
Besides two-time Olympic champion Ma Long, China’s Fan Zhendong, the World No. 1, will also be seen in action in the men’s singles event.
India’s challenge will be led by seasoned table tennis player Sharath Kamal. Sathiyan Gnansekaran and Manika Batra have also confirmed their entries for the Goa competition.
In the women’s singles draw, besides Chen, China’s Sun Yingsha and Japan’s Hina Hayata will also be seen in action.
As per the official entry of the world governing body in table tennis, Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, who is world number eight in the women’s singles event, will also compete in Goa.
Manika Batra, India’s leading women’s singles player, said playing in the WTT competition on home soil will be a great experience.
“The Indian table tennis fraternity will have something to cheer,” Manika said in a press release.
Sathiyan, who is world number 41 in the men’s singles event, is also excited to compete in the big tournament on home soil.
“The field is strong. So, all the matches are going to be challenging,” Sathiyan said.
Other Indian names like Sreeja Akula, the reigning national women’s singles and doubles champion, will compete in the qualifiers.
Reeth Teenison, Diya Chitale, Swastika Ghosh, Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty are among the other top Indian players grouped in the qualifying draw.
The WTT tournament will also see many top international players competing for the first time in India. Some of the top names include Yukiya Uda, 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist Lee San-Su and CWG 2022 silver medalist Liam Pitchford in the men’s single event.
While Jeon Jihee, Liu Weishan, Shin Yubin and the 2022 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in women’s team event, Miu Hirano, will be competing in the women’s single draw. The event will be jointly organized by Table Tennis Federation of India, Government of Goa and Stupa Analytics.