Omkar, Ashlesha to lead the charge for Team ACE in Mumbai Super League 2016

Mumbai Super League is franchise based Table Tennis league that was started last year & organized jointly by the Mumbai City District Table Tennis Association (MCDTTA) and Mumbai Suburban District Table Tennis Association (MSDTTA). From this year the event is being exclusively organized and managed by 11Even Sports.

In the words of Kamlesh Mehta, though the league began as an experiment last year and is only at the district level, it has been a test case for its big avataar, the National Table Tennis league or International Format. The event was held last year in Khar Gymkhana with 8 teams participating in it and was held over 2 days in June 2015.

The playing format was of two groups of four teams each competing in round robin, followed by the semifinals and final. Each outfit will have to play nine matches (worth 10 points each) per clash. There are six categories in singles — men, women, junior boys, junior girls, cadet boys and veteran men. Additionally three doubles set-ups adding to the mix — men with veterans, junior boys with girls, men with junior boys.

However the enthusiasm and cheer that it got from players, team owners and well wishers, it is bigger and better this year with 6 out of the 8 teams continuing with the league and have signed 3 year contracts. Team owners include varied personalities including Dipanita Sharma (model & actress), owners of Table Tennis Academies, hoteliers & digital media agency owners, corporate workers and business houses. Additionally 4 new teams have been added this year in 2016 including a team in which former India Hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay holds a stake

About Team ACE

The team is built on principles of Aspire – Conquer – Excel in the sport with a long term vision of promoting Table Tennis as viable choice of sport in schools – colleges & corporate offices and eventually create a player who can scale the heights that Kamlesh Mehta has once achieved for the country.

One of the founding members of Team ACE, Vikas Bajaj is an Associate Director in IBM. Ecstatic over his newly found passion for the sports he says, “I have been very excited to be part of MSL and Team ACE from the 1st edition in 2015. It gave me a unique opportunity to be part of a sport that is exciting & is played at an extremely fast pace. MSL also gives a complete experience to a team owner, right from doing player selection, participating in auctions and grooming young and old players alike. It also has an element of challenge associated with it, to make the sport more popular and groom players of the future. Add to it all the fun and frolic that happens over the days of the League is complete paisa vasool”
This year the team formulated a strategy that included getting professionals from the business of sport and have included Square Off Sports, a premium sports management company based out of Mumbai, as their co-owners to strengthen the management and also use their analytical and tactical approach to the sport. Mr. Sachin Girishkumar, COO – Square Off Sports said, “India has been enriched by some exceptional sports personalities who have taken the world by storm. Such talented people have been fortunate to have been discovered at the right moment and their talent has been nurtured, lifting them out of obscurity into International Limelight. Given India’s geographical magnitude of the country, one can only imagine the talent that seems out of sight and waiting to be discovered. As team owners, we would like to see Team Ace & MSL as one of those platforms which can become a pedestal to national and  international arena. We congratulate 11Even Sports for coming up with this unique concept and wish them all the best. We would also like to thank Team ACE sponsors New Ahmedabad Sports, Rite Bite, Senapati Sugar among others for their support & association.”

Marquee Players of Team ACE

  • Omkar Torgularkar – Men Category  – MSL Men’s Player of the Tournament  2015; Member of Indian Railways Team; Ranked Top 16 nationally in Men’s Category in 2015.

As per Omkar, “MSL is a very competitive format wherein a single or two stars cannot win you the tournament, you need a senior player to anchor the team in a positive way, I feel I did that to a certain extent last year and was pleased to do so with the support of everyone. MSL as a tournament is a great boost for the TT fraternity mainly because every player takes home a lot of things including prizes and experience to play with the best. It’s such an amazing experience for a 10 year old to watch and evolve. Another unique feature is that as a team you play with different categories from smallest to the eldest, how cool is that? I am truly looking forward to the tournament and I congratulate our association for taking Table Tennis as a sport to a higher level and hopefully we will reach a different altitude in the next few years.”

  • Ashlesha Trehan – Women Category – Currently ranked in the top 16 of the youth girls category inIndia; Won the first state ranking in 2016; Member of the central railway team.

Ashlesha did well in MSL 2015 and is looking forward for this year’s edition “Playing in MSL is an honour as we get to compete with the top paddlers in Mumbai. The team has a good mix of Veteran, Men, Women, Jr, Boys, Jr. Girls & Cadet. Everyone is unique in their own way so playing with players of all age categories gives us all in all a very good learning experience. I am looking forward to putting in a good performance in MSL this year as well.”

  • Suhas Kulkarni – Veteran Category – Shiv Chattrapati Sports award winner; Captain of Maharashtra Team winning National Gold medal in both 2014 & 2015; Coached Indian team for 1986 Asian Games.

Upcoming Stars of Team ACE

  • Manasi Chiplunkar – Jr. Girls Category – Gold medallist at schools nationals U-17 girls team event; Maharashtra rank No 5 & MSL Rank 3 in Junior girls
  • Shivam Das – Jr. Boys Category – Winner in junior promotional table tennis tournament 2015 in sub junior boys category; Winner in cascade inter school tournament 2015; Winner in inter school kaleidoscope 2015; Semi Finalist in MCF all Mumbai ranking TT Tournament 2015 in sub junior boys; Bronze Medallist in MSSA inter school tournament 2015.
  • Kushal Patel – Cadet Boys Category – Semi Finalist in District championship 2015; Ranked 3rd in MSD in Midgets for 2015 & 5th in State in Midgets for 2015.

Last year, Khar Gymkhana was packed with cheering crowds on both the days and the final was covered by DD Sports (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfQkxDznZLk). With the support of over 100 participants and over 5,000 viewers, the league saw huge success this year and promised to come up with even bigger level in coming years. This year the league will be organized at NSCI, Worli between 7th July 2016 and 10th July 2016.

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