One of the biggest international table tennis tournaments, WTT Star Contender Goa has returned to India with its second edition, scheduled at the Peddem Indoor Stadium in Mapusa, Goa from January 23 to 28. The upcoming prestigious tournament promises a bigger and better experience for the fans, especially with the inclusion of 17 Top-20 paddlers competing for the title. The WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 will be co-hosted by Stupa Sports Analytics and Ultimate Table Tennis under the guidance of Table Tennis Federation of India. Fans can book their tickets to watch the high-voltage action on BookMyShow.
Here are the Top-5 global stars to watch out for in the tournament,
1) Hugo Calderano (World No. 6, Brazil):
The World No. 6 Hugo Calderano is one of the biggest attractions of the upcoming WTT Star Contender Goa 2024. The 27-year-old paddler from Brazil is known for his explosive play style and remarkable agility. With the career-best ranking of three in January 2022, Calderano became the first-ever Pan American player to earn a place in the Top-5 of the world rankings and was also the first Brazilian and Latin American to reach the quarter-finals of table tennis in the Olympic Games. Calderano had a good 2023, winning WTT Contender Durban and WTT Contender Doha along with becoming the first three-time consecutive table tennis champion at the Pan American Games. Calderano promises to be a force to reckon with in India’s biggest international table tennis tournament. His consistent performances on the global stage make him a top contender for the men’s singles title.
2) Yubin Shin (World No. 9, Korea Republic):
Known as the prodigy back in Korea, the 19-year-old Yubin Shin enters the WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 after an exceptional 2023 wherein she won four medals, including one gold and three bronze, at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Besides Asian Games heroics, she also won the titles at the WTT Contender Lagosand and WTT Contender Lima in the same year. A rising star in the women’s table tennis, Shin has the ability to adapt quickly and deliver under pressure which makes her a strong contender in the women’s singles category. She will also be competing in the women’s doubles with Jihee Jeon and in mixed doubles with Jonghoon Lim. Having finished her campaign in the round-of-32 in the last edition, Shin will look to turn things around and grab the title when she steps onto the arena in Goa.
3) Felix Lebrun (World No. 8, France):
The rising star Felix Lebrun is one to watch out for in the tournament. Hailing from a new generation of talented players, the 17-year-old Felix’s dynamic playing style and tactical prowess have gained attention. Felix won the bronze medal in doubles at the World Tour Finals 2023 and a bronze medal in the team event of the European Championships 2023. Felix’s brother World No. 23 Alexis will also compete in this prestigious tournament. The French youngster Felix, who reached semi-finals in the last edition, will be aiming for a better finish during his return at the WTT Star Contender Goa 2024. He will also compete in the mixed doubles event along with Prithika Pavade.
4) Dimitrij Ovtcharov (World No. 13, Germany):
The former World No. 1 Dimitrij Ovtcharov is one the most experienced paddlers to appear in the WTT Star Contender Goa 2024. A legend of the game from Germany, Ovtcharov has won six Olympics medals, including two singles bronze medals in 2012 and 2020. He has also won the World Tour title, Men’s World Cup, European championships, German National Championships. Currently ranked 13 in the world, Ovtcharov is known for his trademark backhand and iconic serve that enables him to take down the best in the business. The 35-year-old seasoned campaigner will be making his debut at the WTT Star Contender Goa and is expected to present a strong challenge in the men’s singles.
5) Cheng I-Ching (World No. 18, Chinese Taipei):
The last edition’s runner up, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching will return to Goa with an aim to get her hands on the title this time around. Cheng will not only compete in the women’s singles event but will also try her hands in the women’s doubles category along with Ye Jhun Li. Currently ranked 18 in the world, Cheng is one of the most celebrated players, having played an important role in Chinese Taipei’s significant growth in table tennis. Cheng won the mixed doubles bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and was the integral part in Chinese Taipei’s bronze medal finish at the World Championships in 2016 and 2022. She also secured a singles silver medal in the 2016 World Cup.
The qualifying rounds will be played on January 23 and 24 whereas the semi-finals and finals are scheduled on January 27 and 28 respectively.