Table tennis is an exceptional game because it can be played by young and old alike. It is a game that you can understand in minutes but could spend years trying to master. It is a sport that will leave you cursing with anger or celebrating with joy all on the bounce of a ball. In table tennis, a millimeter can make all the difference. It is an emotional, strategic and physical game that is both a joy to play and to watch. Here are some incredible facts about the game.
It was invented in the 1880s
Table tennis is not a new game with its invention taking place in the late 1880s and the first proper game taking place in 1890. Game companies were trying to create an indoor version of lawn tennis. They tried to make it a card game, a board game, a dice game, even a game consisting of rackets and balloons. The final version of table tennis as we know it won out and the first proper game of table tennis was played in 1890.
Ping pong and table tennis
Table tennis is often referred to as ping pong. This is because of the sound the ball makes as it makes contact with the table and the bat. It is also the name that one company patented back in the 1800s for their version of the game. The name ping pong started to take off but the company was not happy when many kept referring to it as ping pong, without using their equipment. They threatened legal action and official bodies were forced to come up with a new name, table tennis was born. If you are playing any serious professionals they tend to prefer it is called table tennis, as ping pong may not convey the serious nature, you have been warned.
The Chinese rule table tennis
The Chinese are clearly the best nation in table tennis. It is the national sport and they dominate the rankings. China has won 116 of 138 world championships since 1981. Domination.
Table tennis politics
While the Chinese have had some mixed political warmth with the western world they have remained committed to table tennis. In the 1970s China was having little to no contact with the outside world. For 6 years no contact took place. China then surprised the world by inviting a number of nations to play in a tournament in China.
The most popular indoor sport in the world.
It is not just the Chinese who love the sport. It is now the most popular sport in the world. Over 500 million people watched table tennis events at the most recent Olympics. There are 226 associations in the world that are all affiliated by the International Table Tennis Federation. While it is sometimes played as an outdoor sport, please don’t, the wind just ruins it!