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Table Tennis Clubs

The progress of table tennis from improvised after-dinner fun in Victorian Britain, via a slightly more evolved version promoted by games manufacturers, to an international sport enjoyed by millions of players worldwide, has been phenomenal. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the ruling body for the sport, was only founded in 1926. And the game is still developing – in 2000 the ITTF made radical changes, partly to make the game more interesting to television producers: they made the ball 40mm in diameter compared to the previous standard of 38mm, slowing play slightly, and changed the scoring system from first to 21 to first to 11, to shorten matches (improved defensive techniques and skill had by then produced some extremely long rallies, and consequently extended matches).
In spite of the changes over the years, table tennis – or yes, as Boris Johnson called it wiff-waff (from the sound of the bats through the air) or ping-pong (from the sound of the ball on the originally wooden paddles employed in its early days) is in its basic form a simple and fun pastime as it was in posh Victorian homes when it started.
The sport requires little equipment, and very little space, which is another advantage in modern times. But if in its basic form it is simple, in the competitive version it is far more demanding, and clubs can provide the coaching and networking needed to develop those players with a gift for the game. And for those who are never likely to play in the Olympics, it’s still as much fun as wiff-waff was.

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