A Brief History of Table Tennis | Ping Pong History

Table tennis is an indoor ball game and is ranked the sixth most popular with an estimated 850millon fans in the world. Two or four players play the game of table tennis. The Equipment required includes a celluloid plastic ball, a table tennis table; and laminated wooden rackets. Standing opposite each other at a table that is separated by a net; the players hit the ball back and forth. I’ve already covered the Basic rule of table tennis, Now in this article, I will be covering table tennis history. Table Tennis just like other sports has a history. The history of table tennis has been a subject of research for centuries.

table tennnis history

Ping Pong and Table Tennis History

Do you call it Table Tennis or Ping Pong? Now am confident you might be confused on which is the correct name for this sport. Some think the two are one and same or are unrelated while others know nothing about the whole thing. Do not worry; the confusion will be gone soon.

Ping Pong and Table Tennis is the same thing. As we all have nicknames, Ping Pong is a nickname for Table Tennis. The game began in 1880’s in England by the upper class Victorians for entertainment. It originated one night they had dinner and it was raining. They decided to use their dinner table, arranged books in the middle of the table to act as the net then used cigar box lids like paddles. At first, they named it Whiff–Whaff because of the sound produced as the ball bounced.Instead of net, a row of books was used along the center of the table for partition. And rather than using rackets, two more books were used to hit a golf ball from one end of the table to the other.

One of fanatic Whiff-Whiff player, Mr. Gibb returned from the United States in 19001.He brought a celluloid ball for the game. The sound produced when the ball was hit instantly changed, so the nickname of the game to Ping Pong . The name was derived form ball sound as it bounced off the table. John Jacques registered Ping-Pong in England. Other players and stakeholders started calling the game Table Tennis. ITTF formation in Berlin marked the separation of the commercial game (Ping-Pong) and & the sport (table tennis). The letter became famous as people took it as played for competition purposes. The two name are used interchangeably depending on the circumstance during play: either as a game or sport.

The Birth of ITTF

A federation was formed in Berlin, and it was to be named International Ping-Pong Federation. The naming did not happen since the name had already been registered. The federation was therefore named ITTF. The birth of ITTF resulted in 1926. The federation was founded by William Henry from Wymondham, and other representatives from Austria, Denmark, England, Hungary, India, Sweden Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Wales.

ITTF is the body which governs all international table tennis associations, and it recognizes six continental tennis federations.

  • In Africa, we have African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) with 51 members
  • Asian Table Tennis Union comprising of 45 members
  • European Table Tennis Union in Europe with a membership of 58
  • ULTM from Northern America with four members and Oceania Table Tennis Federation with a membership
  • NATTU from Northern American with four members and Oceania Table Tennis Federation with a membership of 24.

The Federation is mandated to perform the following functions:-

  • Overseeing table tennis rules and regulations
  • Seeking technological improvement for the sport.
  • Planning and Organizing international Table Tennis events and competitions.
  • Maintaining a global Table tennis ranking system.
  • Ensuring the interests and welfare of the players and all the stakeholders are standard.

Table Tennis in World Cup and Olympic

table tennis world cup

In 1902, for the first time an unofficial world championship for ping pong was held. Twenty Four years later, the first official world Table Tennis Championship took place in 1926 in London and Hungarian, Dr. Jacobi won.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) officially formed, holding the first official World Championship competition in London in 1927. Seven countries took part in the competition. The participating nations increased tremendously to 101 by 1997. Over 140 countries are now members of ITTF table-tennis-world-cup

The first Table Tennis World cup was held in 1980. Until the inauguration of Women’s singles in 1996, the competition had been men’s single. Team competitions were introduced in 1990. The sports was featured first in Olympics in 1988 both men and women events for singles and doubles. Hungary’s men’s team won the championship 12times, China’s Men’s and Women’s teams hold a record 20times each while Japan’s Women team have won a total of 8 titles. The trophies presented are: singles competition, Doubles competition, and team competition.

Table Tennis is coming home next year ! Table Tennis team World Cup is taking place on February 22-25 2018 in London. All the world’s best table tennis players will be heading back to the birthplace of the sport. England has been awarded hosting rights by the ITTF and the venue is at Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Team World Cup was lastly held in 2015 in Dubai. It comprises of 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams. Individual Men’s World Cup was held in Liverpool in 2012.

Final Verdict

Please don’t take this the wrong way I find the name (ping pong) degrading for the sport I love. I appreciate in the US it’s commonly known as ping pong but table tennis is an Olympic sport called “table tennis”. In fact ping pong is a different sport with a different governing body, with its own world championship.

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