Almost everyone has, at least once in their lifetime, batted a few table tennis balls
across a net - whether it be competitively or out of sheer boredom over the summer holidays. Although table tennis is a fairly young sport, it has seen its fair share of modifications, evolutions and even controversy during its short, but fascinating history.
The first records of the game hark back to the late nineteenth century, when it was described as a post-dinner parlor game enjoyed by the British aristocracy. They would convert their dinner tables into mini ‘courts’ by adding a net and use anything at hand as a ball and bat. The game was originally called ping pong, but was renamed when commercial manufacturers began distributing equipment.
Today, table tennis is an official Olympic sport that enjoys worldwide acclaim and an extensive fan base as spectator sport. Here are some interesting facts about the game:
- Table tennis was inaugurated as an Olympic sport during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
- During the period from 1930 to 1950 table tennis was banned in the Soviet Union due to the belief that it is harmful to participants’ eyes.
- Table tennis paddles were initially made from cork, cardboard or wood and covered by either cloth or leather.
- With over 10 million players competing in sanctioned tournaments all over the world each year, table tennis is the foremost most popular racquet sport in the world.
- Modern-day table tennis matches last an average of 30 minutes on elite level.
- Top players can hit the ball at speeds that exceed a 100 miles per hour.
- The current record for the most amount of balls hit back and forth in 60 seconds is held by Jackie Bellinger and Lisa Lomas who managed to vault a whopping 173 across the net in the allotted time, in 1993.
Keen to improve your table tennis skills or simply want something fun for the family to do together? Have a look at our comprehensive selection of table tennis equipment, including table tennis tables
, table tennis bats
and table tennis nets
and get your games room kitted out in style.