Indoor Sports have become more interesting and common especially after COVID-19 when restrictions have been placed on different types of outdoor activities including sports. Among the most famous kinds of indoor sports, Table Tennis, also known as Ping Pong, is the favorite for many people. In fact, you can have the table tennis set up at your home too because it does not require any large space to be set up.
Interesting Facts about Table Tennis
Dates Back to the 1800s
Table Tennis can be regarded as one of the oldest sports we know of because it was developed in the 1860s to 1870s. It originated from England and was played by the elite class only while it got introduced to other countries such as India as well when British officers played it with books instead of small rackets. The balls were also not the same and instead, golf balls were used. Even the concept of the net was not existing as a row of books was set up to make an obstruction for the ball.
The Name was a Big Controversy
We know it as Table Tennis formally and Ping Pong in slang but there is a whole story behind it as to why it was not called Ping Pong despite being suggested as its first name. Soon after the sports got popular, many businesses started mass production of tables and sophisticated rackets as well as balls for a better experience. However, every business started to set up its own name for the sport too. Common names included Indoor Tennis, Whiff Whaff, Ping Pong, and Gossima.
However, the business that was using the name Ping Pong got its trademark and started to threaten other businesses to not use this name for the promotion of their products else legal action could be taken against them. As a result, a professional name had to be acquired for the sport and this is the time when “Table Tennis” was formally accepted unanimously during the 1920s.
One of the things known about tennis is that from young to old any person can play this sport. It does not require excessive running rather a strong grasp of reflexes is what is quite essential. What is more shocking is that the youngest player for table tennis is an 11-year-old who got selected in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The young player named Hend Zara belongs to Syria and has become quite famous for his expertise in Table Tennis for which he has been selected in such a large competition like the Olympics. In the ITTF World ratings, Zaza has been ranked at 155. She qualified for the Olympics 2020 after winning the West Asia qualification round that was held in Jordan.
Find out the things to consider when setting up a ping pong table – Space Needed for Playing Ping Pong
The Oldest Player is Aged 97
The sport for all ages has truly proved that it can be played at all ages. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest table tennis player was Dorothy de Low who was born in 1910. She had a successful career of playing table tennis throughout her life and represented Australia on multiple occasions. Also known as Dot De Low, she has been winning several awards including the gold medal at the Championship of 1992 in the category of Over 80s Women.
Her eldest representation was at the age of 97 years and 232 days when she represented Australia at the XIV World Veterans Table Tennis Championships held in May 2008. The old lady has also played further in 2009 when she was a part of the World Master Games held in Sydney. It’s enlightening for all of us that a person with this old could be putting in so much effort.
Table Tennis in Politics
It may sound weird but this is what happened when China invited other countries such as England, the USA, Colombia, and Canada to the Table Tennis matches. These matches were a part of the series that had to be played among the countries. Does not sound surprising? It truly was something unexpected because this was the first contact that China made with the rest of the world in 6 years in 1971.
This incident was known as “The Ping Pong Diplomacy” and gave a gesture of friendship by China to other nations. The simple Table Tennis matches improved the relations between the US and China. One year later, US President Richard Nixon visited China. It’s odd how a game involving small rackets and some balls became the pathway for an improvement in the relations of two countries.
The Longest Table Rally
Most amateur table tennis players are not able to have played more than 10 to 15 shots in one go but not in the case of Chris Darnell and his opponent Will Darnell. This happened most recently in December 2020 when the duo played the longest table tennis rally for 11 hours and 50 minutes. During the rally, the duo went on more than 35,000 shots. Did they take any break? No, the two did not even take a bathroom break.
Both have been mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking the previous record of 8 hours. The two have stated that they always had a keen interest in Table Tennis and were practicing from a very young age that helped them achieve this important moment in their life.
Table Tennis Got Banned Once
Despite the fact that table tennis is one of the safest sports, it was once banned due to medical concerns. Russian experts suggested that Table Tennis was directly related to a range of eye problems. This ban was kept between 1930 and 1950 throughout the Soviet Union. Since Table Tennis does require a quick reflex between the eyes and the hands, it may have been a condition for players. However, the ban was listed after 1950.
Strict International Regulations
The indoor sport has become a very critical one ever since there have been tough restrictions on it. Founded in 1926, the International Table Tennis Federation has become the center for making different types of rules and monitoring them. Only balls authorized by this federation are the ones that can be played in any elite or master-level tournament. Moreover, the weight of the ball should be very precise at 2.7 grams. A very minor margin of error has been kept for this weight.
Until 2000, the International Table Tennis Federation had kept the rules for 21 points to win. After 2000, the winning score has been reduced to 11 points. Specifications for the table are also defined clearly by the authorities. Most recently, the ball material has been changed from celluloid to plastic. The colors of the ball are either white or orange and choosing either of the two colors depends on the color of the table. With so many complex rules, Table Tennis is surely a strict sport not made for everyone.
1600 Varieties of Racket Rubber
Most of you might know the racket rubber to be either textured, dotted, or plain with colors of red and black. However, there are more than 1600 rubber varieties that are authorized. In the case of higher-level tournaments, one can use any of these 1600 varieties. It seems so unusual that the authorities carefully examined and then approved over 1600 varieties of rubber for a simple tennis racket. Choosing the right kind of rubber is quite important because it will help in spinning the ball accordingly.
Most Popular Indoor Sport
Most people have a common misconception that chess or snooker is the most popular indoor sport of all time but in reality, it is Table Tennis. Over 226 associations from all over the world are affiliated with the International Federation for Table Tennis. Newer competitions at a domestic, national, and international level are being held every day which is further promoting the sport. More than 552 million people have been known to watch the Table Tennis matches of 2016 and this number has increased to an even great level by now.
It has also become one of the most popular indoor sports because China, one of the largest economies of the world, has adopted it as their national sport. Since 1981, China has won 116 out of 138 Championship Titles. The players dominate the world rankings and are known to be among the toughest players of Table Tennis. All these factors have significantly contributed to Table Tennis getting more popular over time.
Learn more about one of the top outdoor sports: Basketball – Equipment You Need to Play Basketball.
Table Tennis is one of the most interesting indoor sports of all time. It can be referred to as a great hobby too. With improvement to the reflexes as well as coordination, Table Tennis brings significant improvements to the mental abilities as well. If you have space at your home, buy the table and set up a small table tennis arena beside it. From the above-mentioned facts, we can conclude that Table Tennis is truly a unique sport with fun and complexities side by side.