An Olympic sport since 1988 and the world’s biggest racket sport, is played by around 2 million people in Britain and 300 million people worldwide. 186 countries are affiliated to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The sport was included for the first time in The 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
The sport had its origins as a parlour game in England from the 1880’s, and following the ping pong craze of the turn of the century, revived in England in the early 1920’s with the Table Tennis Association forming in 1922 and an ‘English’ (ETTA) prefix being added in 1927. The ITTF was formed in 1926, in which year the first world championships were held in London.
At a basic level table tennis is easy to set up, space efficient (4 tables can fit into a badminton hall), versatile (can be played almost anywhere, and on modified tables if necessary), non-weather dependent (except when played outdoors!), and equipment (tables, nets, bats and balls) is relatively inexpensive. Normal sporting/PE kit (preferably dark coloured) and light soled sports shoes or trainers are appropriate. However, at a higher level there are specific requirements regarding size of hall, lighting, flooring etc. according to the level of competition, and better players demand higher quality equipment and clothing.
Easy to learn at a basic level, table tennis is a ‘Sport for all’ and a ‘Sport for life’ – anyone can play and continue to play. It is an enjoyable, safe, healthy sport (drug free), particularly good for developing alertness and co-ordination. The physical, mental and skill demands are much greater at a higher standard.
Table tennis can be played in singles and doubles, and although games have traditionally been up to 21 points, games up to 11 are now table tennis law and replacing up to 21. Normally local league teams have 3 or 4 members, but 2-a-side leagues are becoming more popular. Polybat has been adapted from table tennis for severely physically disabled.
For further information contact: Table Tennis England, Bradwell Road, Loughton Lodge Milton Keynes, MK8 9LA. Tel. 01908 208860
Further information can be obtained by visiting their website: Table Tennis England
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