Brief History Of Ping Pong

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Ping Pong, like its name, also has an equally interesting history. Turn the pages back to the past and you can see a number of tales and folklore attached to this game. From the origin to the name itself, the story of Ping Pong is vast and diverse. Name a Country and you’ll see as they have their own little version of this very fascinating history of Ping Pong. 

So, before hitting the nail of history, let’s talk a little about the game itself. Ping Pong is a popular indoor ball game that has been ranked as the sixth most popular game in the world with an estimated 850 million fans all around the world. 2-4 players basically play Ping Pong and the sports equipments include- a celluloid plastic ball, a Ping Pong table, and some laminated wooden paddles. The Ping Pong players hit the ball back and forth facing each other at a table that is separated by a net. 

You can look up the rules in the articleRules & Guides To Play Beer Ping Pong’. 

Did You Know? 

Research suggests that the total weight of 22 octillion balls of Ping Pong would equate to that of the Earth!

Origin And Name-

Ping Pong has long been a subject of research for many sports enthusiasts. To get into the origin, we must take along the ‘tale of the name’ of this very game, as both of these are closely inter-related. First things first, the names that have been confusing you since forever, Ping Pong and Table Tennis are actually almost synonymous with each other. Why ‘almost’? Well, you’ll know it as you keep reading.

Also, try n read our article onWhat Are The Difference Between Ping Pong & Table Tennis?to know some of the differences between both. 

Table Tennis and Ping Pong are the same things. Like we all have nicknames, you just need to consider Ping Pong as a nickname for Table Tennis. The game (call it Ping Pong or Table Tennis) began in the 1880s, somewhere in England by a group of upper-class Victorians for entertainment purposes.

Ping Pong came into being one fine evening when these aristocrats were having dinner and it was raining outside. They came up with an amazing idea to use their dinner table for a game. It was the game of tennis that they dragged inside. They arranged some books in the middle of the table in place of the traditional net.  Then they used the cigar box lids as paddles. At the beginning, they named this new invention ‘Whiff–Whaff’ because of the onomatopoeic effect the ball created as it bounced. The game then gained popularity and people began playing it the same way with books as net and paddles. 

One fine Whiff-Whiff player, Mr. Gibb came up with a celluloid ball for the game. The sound then instantly changed, hence, the name then got another variation- Ping Pong. This is how our game was born. A number of people tried a hand on registering the game with their own interesting names, Whiff Whaff, Pang Pang, and some more until John Jacques tried on with the name Ping Pong and registered it in England. 

Origin Of International Table Tennis Federation – 

Now you must be wondering when the game is Ping Pong why then the federation is named after Table Tennis? Well, the answer is right here. A federation did get the form in Berlin once, which had to go through several legal issues, and finally, ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) came into existence in 1926. It came into being by William Henry from Wymondham, and the other representatives from Denmark, England, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, India, Czechoslovakia, and Wales.

Now the ITTF governs all the international Ping Pong or Table Tennis tournaments. Also, there are six Continental clusters of the ITTF as: 

  • ATTF: African Table Tennis Federation with 51 members. 
  • ATTU: Asian Table Tennis Union with 45 members.
  • ULTM: Latin American Table Tennis Federation with 40 members. 
  • TTFI: Table Tennis Federation Of India with 51 members. 
  • NATTU: North American Table Tennis Federation with 4 members. 
  • OTTF: Oceania Table Tennis Federation with 24 members. 

Did You Know? 

In 2003 a larger sized Ping Pong ball was introduced to make it more visible to the TV audience.

World Cup and Olympics- 

As it’s well known by now, Table Tennis is the official one out of the two, that has been registered as a sport and hence, this the sport that runs in the Olympics and other international matches and not Ping Pong. Either way, it’s the same. 

The game spread like forest fire up until 1901 and tournaments began to be conducted with over 300 participants.

For the first time in the history of the world, an unofficial world championship was held in 1902 for Ping Pong. Exactly after 24 years, the first official World Table Tennis Championship was conducted in the year 1926 in London. The Hungarian, Dr. Jacobi won it for the very first time. 

After the formation of ITTF, it was for the very first time that 7 Countries participated in this sport. Soon after this, the popularity of the game touched heights and this number incredibly increased to 101 by 1997. Today, about 140 Countries are parts of this craze. 

The 1950s witnessed a huge transformation by the invention of sponge or sandwich rubber for the balls used in Ping Pong.  This new material for a paddle, which, up until then, had been a considerably simple affair having a universal thin cover of pimpled rubber. 

Soon after this, a number of transitions were made looking at the needs of the game. It witnessed many ups and downs and currently is one of the most loved sports in the world.

The first-ever Table Tennis World Cup was conducted in 1980 and the inauguration of Women’s singles was in 1996. Team competitions came up in 1990 and the game got recognition as an Olympic Games sport featuring for the first time in the 1988 games in Seoul. It has been there ever since. 

Did You Know? 

The Xushaofa 40+ Ping Pong balls are considered to be the best among the batch of the plastic ball.

Conclusion-

Ever since Ping Pong (or call it Table Tennis) has come into existence, it has been spreading throughout the world and winning hearts constantly. A number of Ping Ping enthusiasts wait for months together to watch this sport get featured in World championships. Every year the ITTF as well as other lower organizations conduct official and unofficial tournaments that keep introducing new players and new spirits into the thrill of this game. By the time you read this article, who knows what all new would have got their place in this timeline of your favorite sports.

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