Launch of new reality series that takes viewers inside the exclusive drama between team captains and players throughout the season
The first-ever T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League (T2APAC) announced today an international line-up of legends as Team Captains, whose combined resume includes major titles across World Championships, Olympic Games, World Cups and continental major games and tournaments:
- · Jiang Jialiang, a former two-time world champion from China, dominated the sport in the 1980s, winning multiple medals at the World Championships, World Cup and Asian Championships.
- · Jörgen Persson was a former world champion and seven-time Olympian who represented Sweden in every Olympic Games when table tennis was introduced into the Olympic program in 1988 until 2012.
- · Jörg Rosskopf, currently the German men’s national coach, won the silver medal in the men’s doubles at the 1992 Olympic Games and the bronze medal in the men’s singles at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
- · Michael Maze from Denmark was a bronze medal winner at the 2004 Olympic Games in the men’s doubles, and widely considered to be one of the best defensive lobbers in the world.
For the Team Championship, T2APAC players will be selected by the Team Captains in accordance with a draft selection process, which has been introduced to create a level-playing field and unpredictability of outcome. The four Team Captains will compete to select the best paddlers to build a winning mixed team, comprising six players - three men and three women.
A component of its season-long umbrella marketing campaign, T2APAC also announced the launch of a new reality series, Fusion, comprising multiple episodes, each of up to 3 minutes’ duration, and rolled-out as the league unfolds across the next six months. The series showcases the fully unscripted interpersonal dynamics between players and Team Captains both on and off the table. It takes viewers behind the scenes as Team Captains juggle player personalities while devising gameplay strategies, revealing the intense drama that follows world-class competition, shedding insights into coaching styles, strategies and interpersonal chemistry within each team.
Audiences around the world can tune-in to watch the Team Captains select players for their respective teams, which will be produced as the first episode of Fusion, titled “The Pick”, and will be televised on 20 June on T2APAC’s Youtube, Facebook and Weibo accounts.
Said T2APAC CEO, Jeff Chue: “‘We are excited to have these four legends of the game play an integral part in the league. They will certainly add an all-new dimension to gameplay that will certainly bolster appeal of the league to new and existing fans.”
Said Jörgen Persson: “I’m honoured to be invited to be a team captain in this groundbreaking competition. The concept of T2APAC is so unique, and I genuinely believe that getting us to play a crucial role with, and to guide and lead, current international table tennis stars will do wonders to promote the sport worldwide.”
T2APAC has attracted table tennis’ top names, including the world’s top female paddler in Ding Ning from China, as well as Singapore’s Feng Tian Wei (World No. 4), Cheng I-Ching from Chinese Taipei (World No. 7) and South Korean Yang Haeun (World No. 23). The event will also feature major top-10 men’s players including Dima Ovtcharov from Germany (World No. 5), Jun Mizutani (World No. 6), former World No. 1 Timo Boll from Germany (World No. 8), Chuang Chih-Yuan (World No. 10) of Chinese Taipei, and legendary defensive player Joo Saehyuk of South Korea who was ranked 5th in the world at his peak (World No. 17). The league will also feature some of the best young talents from Japan such as 13-year-old child prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto (World No. 69),17-year old Hina Hayata (World No. 16 ) who recently clinched the bronze in the women’s doubles at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, and rising-star 13-year old Miyuu Kihara (world no. 158).
The contingent from China comprises members of the China men’s national team - World No. 51 Shang Kun, Liu Dingshuo, Xue Fei, and Wang Chuqin; and from the China women’s national team – World No. 12 Wu Yang, World No. 41 Wang Manyu, Liu Fei, and Sun Yingsha, as well as 15-year old Shi Xunyao, the Girl’s champion of the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Other top names competing in T2APAC’s inaugural season for a prize purse of over USD 1.75 million include Chen Chien-an (Chinese Taipei), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Paul Drinkhall (England), Georgina Pota (Hungary), Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Jeon Jihee (South Korea), Aleksandr Shibaev (Russia), Matilda Ekholm and Mattias Karlsson (Sweden), as well as Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand).
The league will feature 24 world-class players (12 men’s and 12 women’s players) per match round, with players competing in separate but concurrent men’s, women’s, and mixed-team league competitions. Some players will be playing on a rotational basis during the inaugural season. Each match in the inaugural T2APAC Table Tennis League is limited to 24 minutes, where players try to win as many games as possible within the duration. Showcasing a unique competition model and presentation format, the league will feature a unique scoring system to ensure a level playing field and unpredictability of outcome, where audiences and fans around the world can expect edge-of-your-seat competitive excitement throughout the season.
Touted as the richest competition in today’s professional table-tennis calendar, the players will be battling for an unprecedented prize purse of more than USD 1.75 million in the inaugural season, which will be played across seven match rounds from end of this 28 June to December 2017. All 228 matches in Season 1 will be played and televised live before an invite-only studio audience from the T2CAVERN, a purpose-built arena in the Asian location of Hollywood’s iconic Pinewood Studios, situated in Johor, Malaysia.