Table Tennis

Photo of player in action

Table Tennis is a spectacle of accuracy and speed, with split-second athlete reactions required to keep the ball in play.

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Table Tennis involves two or four players hitting a lightweight ball back and forth using small, solid rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, players must allow a ball played toward them only one bounce on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side. Points are scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules.

In 2000, the ITTF changed the standard size of ball used in competition to 40mm, and in 2001 they started using a 11-point scoring system instead of the previous 21-point system.

Competition will take place at the Scotstoun Leisure Centre Precinct, where up to 10 competition tables, including two main show courts, will see athletes contest singles and doubles events as well as dedicated team events, in the quest for Glasgow 2014 gold.

Governing body

Table Tennis Scotland, previously the Scottish Table Tennis Association (STTA), was established in 1935. Their mission is 'to foster and promote Table Tennis to attract more players, achieve higher standards and improve the profile of the sport'. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the governing body for Table Tennis, provides the handbook for rules and equipment standards for the game.


Table Tennis developed in England during the 1880s, when it was played among the upper-class as an indoor after-dinner entertainment related to Lawn Tennis. The popularity of the game led game manufacturers to sell equipment commercially, with the first modern bats being invented in 1901.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was founded in 1926, but it was only in 1988 that Table Tennis became an Olympic sport. Since making its debut at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, Table Tennis has remained a strong sport amongst Commonwealth nations.

Table Tennis skills

Table Tennis champion Matthew Syed plays Table Tennis with Hung Kei Li from Hong Kong. Speed and strategy are important to this fast and exciting game. (BBC video)


Other websites

  • Table Tennis Scotland

    Table Tennis Scotland aims to foster and promote table tennis to attract more players, achieve higher standards and improve the profile of the sport in Scotland.

  • Discover Table Tennis – Olympian Matthew Syed’s story

    This BBC video features Matthew Syed, a former England number one and Olympian in table tennis. Matthew explains how he went from playing against his brother, in his parents’ garage, to being one of the best table tennis players in the world.