Table Tennis is a sport that can be played by everyone, Whether you're 18 months old or 100 years of age. So let's take a look at the 7 Most Fascinating Facts about this great sport.
Table Tennis was invented in the late 1880s in England
- Table tennis as we know it today, started in the late 1880s in England.
- Game makers were trying to emulate the popularity of Lawn Tennis by developing indoor versions of it.
- So early versions were made by different game manufacturers who each used their own exclusive patented or trademarked names.
- These names included Indoor Tennis, Gossima, Whiff-Waff and Ping Pong and games consisted of card games, board & dice games, rackets & balloon games and even tiddley winks games.
- But the first action game of tennis on a table was in 1890. In the 1920s the owners of the trademarked name "Ping Pong" started to threaten legal action against anybody who used their name without specifying the use of their equipment, so an alternative name was required - and Table Tennis was chosen as the official name for this International sport.
The International Governing body and the official Rules of Table Tennis were formulated in 1926
- The Governing body of table tennis - the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) - was formed in January 1926 by representatives from the Table Tennis Associations of Austria, England, Germany and Hungary.
- Following that meeting, Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, Germany, Hungary, India, Sweden and Wales were all invited to become the original members of the ITTF.
- They also agreed the first Constitution and the original Rules of Table Tennis in December 1926.
- Many of the original rules remain relatively unchanged after nearly 100 years of use.
Ping Pong Diplomacy took place in 1971
- China stunned the world when they invited England, the USA, Canada and Colombia to play a series of friendly matches in China.
- This was the first contact China had made with the rest of the world for six years.
- The media all around the world dubbed this as "Ping Pong Diplomacy".
- Although Ping Pong Diplomacy appeared to be a spontaneous act of friendship, it had been meticulously planned by the Chinese leaders.
Chinese players dominate the game
China has made table tennis its national sport and their players completely dominate the world rankings and the winners rostrums around the world. They've won 98 of the 119 World Championship titles available since 1981.
- Men's Singles = 12 of 17
- Women's Singles = 15 of 17
- Men's Doubles = 12 of 17
- Women's Doubles = 16 of 17
- Mixed Doubles = 15 of 17
- Men's Team = 14 of 18
- Women's Team = 16 of 18
There are more than 1,500 varieties of table tennis rubbers
- To compete in sanctioned table tennis events, players can only use authorised racket coverings (rubbers) on their rackets.
- One side must be black and one side must be red, but players can use different varieties on each side of their racket.
- There are more than 1,500 varieties of table tennis rubbers on the authorised list.
- Rubbers are either smooth or pimpled and by using different rubbers, players can impart different spins on the ball.
Table Tennis balls are now made from plastic
- Since 1901 table tennis balls have been made of celluloid, but these are now being phased out.
- Since 1 July 2014 all International events only use table tennis balls made from plastic.
- From September 2015 all affiliated countries are being encouraged to only use the new plastic balls.
Table tennis is the most popular indoor sport in the world
- Table Tennis is the most popular indoor sport in the world with 222 Associations from countries and territories all around the world being affiliated to the International Table Tennis Federation.
- Table Tennis is played at the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and 34 million viewers in China watched the 2012 London Olympics men's singles gold medal match.
- The sport is popular because it can be played by everyone, whatever their age or physical attributes.
- And although it is an indoor sport, it can also be played outdoors as a social event.