Sport Focus: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Table Tennis

March 18, 2019

While Table Tennis has only been a Commonwealth Games sport since 2002, Scottish success on the global stage and at the Commonwealth Championships goes back much further.  To round off our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ Sport Focus, here are 12 things you might not know about the sport:

1. Table Tennis first appeared on the Commonwealth Games programme at Manchester 2002 and has appeared at each Games since. Originally optional, it has now been made a core sport. It has also made one  appearance at the Commonwealth Youth Games – in 2008 in Pune, India.

2. Singapore top the all-time Commonwealth Games Table Tennis medal table with an incredible 50 medals from five Games. They were the top nation in Table Tennis at every Games until Gold Coast 2018 when India pipped them to that title.

3. Scotland have won three medals at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships: Men’s Singles bronze for Richard Yule in 1973, Women’s Team bronze in 1989 and Men’s Team bronze in 2013, but have yet to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

4. The Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships began in 1971 and Scotland has hosted the event three times. First in 1979 at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre and twice in Glasgow: Kelvin Hall in 1997 and Scotstoun in 2009.

5. Helen Hamilton (nee Elliott) can lay claim to the title of Scotland’s most successful Table Tennis player with seven World Championship medals, including two gold, and 13 consecutive Scottish Open Women’s Singles titles between 1946 and 1958.

6. Table Tennis originated in Victorian England and has been known as whiff-whaff, flim-flam, punch ball, pim-pam and gossima.

7. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was formed in 1926 and now has 226 member associations. It has been an Olympic sport since 1988.

8. The size of the ball was changed from 38mm to 40mm after the 2000 Olympic Games so that spectators could see the ball clearly on TV, effectively slowing the game down.

9. Table Tennis is the most popular indoor sport in the world with over 10 million players competing in sanctioned tournaments each year.

10. Despite Table Tennis sometime being referred to as Ping-Pong, Ping-Pong is actually a different sport. One major difference is that while Table Tennis bats have rubber on them, Ping-Pong bats have sandpaper instead.

11. Table Tennis balls are not actually hollow- they are pressurised with gas inside.

12. The Soviet Union banned the sport from 1930 to 1950 as they declared it was harmful to the eyes!

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