The Facts of the History of table tennis

Table tennis is a game involving two or four players, hitting a lightweight ball across a table using small paddles? The ball is allowed and the bats are small wooden paddles covered by a thin layer of rubber on both surfaces.

There has been a misconception relating to the difference between table tennis and ping pong. Some say it is in the way of playing, equipment used or the set of rules governing the two. But table tennis and ping pongs are one and the same. This mix up has resulted from the changes of name for this game over the years.

In order to understand how this mix up happened; we must go back to the humble beginnings
of this game.

History of table tennis

Table tennis started in the 1880’s as a simple game among the upper class in Victorian England. Other sources suggest that this game was started by British military officers while in India during the mid 1800’s. Others claim that ping pong was an invention by lawn tennis lovers as an alternative to lawn tennis during winter. During its early days, it had various names such as ping pong, Flim Flam, Pim Pam, and whiff-whaff.

During this period, players used any available items to assemble a simple set up for this game. They would use the common table as the board, a few set books at the center to play the role of a net and a book as the paddle. They would then use any spherical object that would bounce on the table as the ball.

Table tennis remained unofficial until 1921 when Table Tennis Association: later renamed The
English Table Tennis Association was formed in Britain. But before then, unofficial world championship had been held in 1902 in which over 300 participants took part. Later, in the year 1927, the name was changed to International Table Tennis Association under the leadership of Ivor Montague. The first official world championship took place in 1927 and was won by Dr.
Jacobi from Hungary.

Due to its popularity in the world, table tennis was introduced into Olympics game in 1988
held in Seoul. Surprisingly, more than 2billion people tuned in to watch live
coverage of this game.


Ping pong was a trademark name introduced by manufacturer J. Jacques and son Ltd in 1901. The the term was widely used by various associations in America and Britain but after the ping pong’ rights were sold to Parker Brothers, they changed their names to table tennis’ since ping pong’ had been established as a brand name and legal actions would be taken against anybody using the name without Parker’s permission. Since then, the term table tennis’ had been used until today.


Over the years, just like many other games that have developed from a simple basic form
to the modern games we currently enjoy playing and watching, table tennis has
undergone some changes over the past to become what it is today.

From a simple table, sets of books at the middle and simple container lids as bats; to a standardized table made specifically for ping pong, net, modern paddle and a hallowed lightweight ball, ping pong has had a long journey to becoming one of the most played games in the world. Not only has the equipment changed, but the rules to have changed.

In the year 2000, after Olympics in Sydney, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF),
made a few adjustments aimed at making ping pong more feasible as a televised sport. The changes involved replacement of the 38millimetres balls with a 40millimetre balls to increase their air resistance thus slowing down the game. This would make the game easy to watch on the television. Serve rotation was reduced from 5 to 2 and the scoring system was changed from a 21-point to an 11-point. Service rules were also changed and the player had to toss the ball at least 16 centimeters in the air so the opponent can have time to realize the service is about to take place.

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