Paddlers take to creative table tennis format
The novel format of the inaugural T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League (T2Apac) confused some players and captains initially, but it also provided some intriguing action as Team Maze, named after captain Michael Maze, scored the competition's first win yesterday.
At the Pinewood Studios in the Iskandar region in Johor Baru, Malaysia, they beat Jiang Jialiang's Team JJ 14-13 on total games won over the six matches.
"It was quite interesting and exciting today," said Singaporean Feng Tianwei, who played for Team Maze.
"There was some confusion in the first two matches, but it got better as we slowly understood them."
Feng, the world No. 4, lost 4-0 to China's Wu Yang in the second match.
The T2Apac competition does not follow traditional table tennis rules.
Instead of best-of-five or best-of-seven games, the T2Apac adopts a time-based format, where singles players try to win as many games as possible during each 24-minute match.
Umpires, called referees in this competition, have the authority to call for "kill-zone games" towards the end of certain matches, where the first player to score five points, instead of 11, wins the game.
The games won in all six matches are aggregated for the overall team score.
All matches are streamed live on YouTube. The first of six rounds of matches this season will end tomorrow.
Former Danish paddler Maze said: "The team did well today; they've had to adapt to the new system, which includes things like the kill-zone game.
"We lost some points, but we learnt pretty quickly.
"I was not that confused, but I was not the one playing.
"Sometimes they forgot about small things, but I feel that it's a very exciting and very intense format.
"We have a few more days and I am sure we will get better."
Two other teams, skippered by Swede Jorgen Persson and German Jorg Rosskopf, were also in action last night. - LIM SAY HENG