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Table tennis

Table tennis known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using small rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one time on their side of the table, must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored. Play demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage. Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation, founded in 1926. ITTF includes 226 member associations; the table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook. Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988, with several event categories. From 1988 until 2004, these were women's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles. Since 2008, a team event has been played instead of the doubles.

The sport originated in Victorian England, where it was played among the upper-class as an after-dinner parlour game. It has been suggested that makeshift versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India in around 1860s or 1870s, who brought it back with them. A row of books stood up along the center of the table as a net, two more books served as rackets and were used to continuously hit a golf-ball; the name "ping-pong" was in wide use before British manufacturer J. Jaques & Son Ltd trademarked it in 1901; the name "ping-pong" came to describe the game played using the rather expensive Jaques's equipment, with other manufacturers calling it table tennis. A similar situation arose in the United States, where Jaques sold the rights to the "ping-pong" name to Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers enforced its trademark for the term in the 1920s making the various associations change their names to "table tennis" instead of the more common, but trademarked, term; the next major innovation was by James W. Gibb, a British enthusiast of table tennis, who discovered novelty celluloid balls on a trip to the US in 1901 and found them to be ideal for the game.

This was followed by E. C. Goode who, in 1901, invented the modern version of the racket by fixing a sheet of pimpled, or stippled, rubber to the wooden blade. Table tennis was growing in popularity by 1901 to the extent that tournaments were being organized, books being written on the subject, an unofficial world championship was held in 1902. In 1921, the Table Tennis Association was founded, in 1926 renamed the English Table Tennis Association; the International Table Tennis Federation followed in 1926. London hosted the first official World Championships in 1926. In 1933, the United States Table Tennis Association, now called USA Table Tennis, was formed. In the 1930s, Edgar Snow commented in Red Star Over China that the Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War had a "passion for the English game of table tennis" which he found "bizarre". On the other hand, the popularity of the sport waned in 1930s Soviet Union because of the promotion of team and military sports, because of a theory that the game had adverse health effects.

In the 1950s, paddles that used a rubber sheet combined with an underlying sponge layer changed the game introducing greater spin and speed. These were introduced to Britain by sports goods manufacturer S. W. Hancock Ltd; the use of speed glue beginning in the mid 1980s increased the spin and speed further, resulting in changes to the equipment to "slow the game down". Table tennis was introduced as an Olympic sport at the Olympics in 1988. After the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the ITTF instituted several rule changes that were aimed at making table tennis more viable as a televised spectator sport. First, the older 38 mm balls were replaced by 40 mm balls in October 2000; this increased the ball's air resistance and slowed down the game. By that time, players had begun increasing the thickness of the fast sponge layer on their paddles, which made the game excessively fast and difficult to watch on television. A few months the ITTF changed from a 21-point to an 11-point scoring system, effective in September 2001.

This was intended to make games more exciting. The ITTF changed the rules on service to prevent a player from hiding the ball during service, in order to increase the average length of rallies and to reduce the server's advantage, effective in 2002. For the opponent to have time to realize a serve is taking place, the ball must be tossed a minimum of 16 centimetres in the air; the ITTF states. The international rules specify that the game is played with a sphere having a mass of 2.7 grams and a diameter of 40 millimetres. The rules say that the ball shall bounce up 24–26 cm when dropped from a height of 30.5 cm onto a standard steel block thereby having a coefficient of restitution of 0.89 to 0.92. Balls are now made of a polymer instead of celluloid as of 2015, colored white or orange, with a matte finish; the choice of ball color is made according to its surroundings. For example, a white ball is easier to see on a blue table than it is on a grey table. Manufacturers indicate the quality of the ball with a star rating system from one to three, three being the highest grade.

As this system is not standard across manufacturers, the only way a ball may be used in official competition is upon ITTF approval (th

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