Table Tennis: T2 Asia-Pacific league launching inaugural season from Johor-based studio

JOHOR BAHRU - The inaugural season of T2 Asia-Pacific (T2APAC), a new table tennis league that adopts an alternative format, will begin the opening round on Wednesday (June 28) in a purpose-built arena at the Pinewood Studios in Iskandar.

Featuring 24 of the world's top players such as Singapore's world No. 4 Feng Tianwei and top men's players such as German Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the event held its opening ceremony on Tuesday morning and will broadcast matches live from the "T2 Cavern" on Wednesday.

Four teams will be led by captains Jiang Jialiang (China), Jorg Rosskopf (German), Jorgen Persson (Sweden) and Michael Maze (Denmark), former top players themselves.

T2APAC will feature matches in men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles matches, a total of 228 matches will be played in the mixed team competition across six months. All seven rounds will be played and televised live in front of an invite-only studio.

Instead of played in games of 11 points like in professional matches, each T2APAC match are timed to last 24 minutes. Players must win as many games as possible within that time. The event is supported by the International Table Tennis Federation and the Asian Table Tennis Union.

The US$1.75 million (S$2.43 million) event, touted as the richest event in the world table tennis calendar, also features players such as world No. 1 Ding Ning, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, Jeon Ji Hee of South Korea and Jun Mizutani of Japan.

Said Shanghai businessman Frank Ji, founder and chairman of T2APAC: "This tournament sets out to revolutionise the global game of table tennis by making household names out of this select stable of elite players.

"It's been my lifelong dream to do something for a sport that is loved and played by over 300 million people around the world, and I believe T2APAC will be able to reveal the true beauty of an unpolished diamond that is table tennis."