Four-time Olympian Elena Timina and former German women’s team head coach Jorg Bitzigeio were picked by Goa Challengers and defending champions Chennai Lions respectively in the coaches draft for the Ultimate Table Tennis.
The season four of the franchise-based league, which is happening after a gap of three years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, is slated from July 13-30 at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.
A member of the 1994 World Cup-winning Russian team, Timina coached the Netherlands women’s side between 2012 and 2017 and had also led the side to two gold and one silver medal in the 2015 European Games.
Timina will be assisted by Indian coach Parag Agarwal. Each team is coached by one international and one Indian coach.
“The draft was wonderful for us. We got our two top coaches,” said Vivek Bhargava, the Goa Challengers’ owner.
Bitzigeio had guided the German women’s team to bronze medal at the 2010 World Team Championships.
He also coached the US national since 2017 and helped them win 47 medals in the Pan American Games.
“The combination of Somnath Ghosh and Jorg Bitzigeio will help us choose the best players available in the draft,” Chennai Lions owners Harini Yadav and Karishma Yadav said in a joint statement.
UTT debutants Bengaluru Smashers made the first pick in Round 1 to bring Sachin Shetty on board before adding Slovenia’s Vesna Ojstersek.
Bengaluru Smashers: Vesna Ojstersek (Slovenia) and Sachin Shetty.
Chennai Lions: Jorg Bitzigeio (Germany) and Somnath Ghosh.
Dabang Delhi TTC: Slobodan Grujic (Serbia) and A Muralidhara Rao.
U Mumba TT: Francisco Santos (Portugal) and Anshul Garg.
Puneri Paltan: Zoltan Batorfi (Hungary) and N Ravichandran.
Goa Challengers: Elena Timina (Russia) and Parag Agrawal.