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The 7 Most Fascinating Facts about Table Tennis

Millions of people all around the world play table tennis
so let's take a look at the 7 Most Fascinating Facts about Table Tennis

Table Tennis is a sport that can be played by everyone...

Whether you're 18 months old...

Jamie - 18 months old Jamie - 18 months old

or 100 years of age...

Dorothy - 100 years of age Dorothy - 100 years of age

1. Table Tennis was invented in the late 1880s in England

Early version of table tennis Early version of table tennis

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.

You can read more about the history of table tennis here


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2. The International Governing body and the official Rules of Table Tennis were formulated in 1926

ITTF logo ITTF logo

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.

You can read more about the rules of table tennis here


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3. Ping Pong Diplomacy took place in 1971

England and China at the Great Wall England and China at the Great Wall

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.

You can read more about Ping Pong Diplomacy here


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4. Chinese players dominate the game

Chinese players dominate Chinese players dominate

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

You can read more about the World Championships here


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5. There are more than 1,500 varieties of table tennis rubbers

table tennis rubbers 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.

You can read more about table tennis rackets & rubbers here


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6. Table Tennis balls are now made from plastic

table tennis balls Table tennis balls

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.

You can read more about table tennis balls here


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7. 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.

Play indoors Play indoors

Play outdoors Play outdoors

You can read more about playing table tennis here


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