Table Tennis

Power, subtlety and lightning-fast reflexes will all be on display at ExCeL during the exciting London 2012 Olympic Games Table Tennis competition.

Did you know?

Other names for Table Tennis include ‘Ping Pong’, ‘Whiff Waff’ and ‘Flim Flam’, reflecting the sound of the ball being struck and bouncing off the table.
Table Tennis was banned in the former Soviet Union from 1930 to 1950 because the sport was believed to be harmful to the eyes.
Top players previously used sophisticated rubber and applied special glues to their rackets to help them put spin and speed on the ball.
Ivor Montagu of England was the founding ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) President, serving from 1926 until 1967.
Table Tennis balls are hollow and weigh approximately 2.7 grams (0.88 oz). They are made of celluloid.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Wednesday 8 August
Medal events: 4
Athletes: 172 (86 men, 86 women)

Table Tennis has come a long way from its origins in the late 19th century, when it developed as an after-dinner game played by upper-class English families. More than a century later, Table Tennis is a breathtaking spectacle that blends power, speed, skill and subtlety – no wonder it’s the biggest participation sport in the world.

The basics

Table Tennis is based on the same basic principles as Tennis, but it has a very different scoring system. Singles matches are played over the best of seven games, with the first player to 11 points (by a margin of two clear points) winning each game. Team matches, meanwhile, consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, each played over the best of five games.

Both the Singles and Team events at London 2012 will be run in a knockout format. Players and teams will progress through the draw until the finals, which will decide the winners of the gold medals.

Olympic Table Tennis, past and present

Since Table Tennis joined the Olympic programme in 1988, China has won 20 of the 24 available gold medals. The only European Olympic gold medallist so far has been the legendary Swedish player Jan-Ove Waldner: nicknamed ‘the Mozart of Table Tennis’, Waldner won the men’s Singles at Barcelona in 1992.
At London 2012, the Table Tennis competition will be held at ExCeL, a multi-purpose events venue that will also host a number of other Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Jargon buster

  • Blade: The flat, rigid part of the racket used for striking the ball.
  • Loop: An attacking shot, often played with plenty of topspin.
  • Penhold: A type of grip where the racket is held as if it was a pen
  • Let: As well as service lets (similar to Tennis), a let may be called if play is interrupted – for example, by a ball from another table entering the playing area. If this happens, the rally is replayed.
  • Time-out: Each player may claim a time-out of up to one minute during an individual match.

Get involved

Table Tennis is fast, fun and easy to learn. If you want to start playing, the chances are there is a club or league near you. Find out more from the English Table Tennis Association, the Irish Table Tennis Association, the Table Tennis Association of Wales, Table Tennis Scotland and the International Table Tennis Federation

table tennis competition atthe beijing games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 20, 2011.

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