Table tennis is not only a matter of competition; it is also a vehicle for positive social change, a healthy worthwhile use of leisure time, an opportunity to bring people together, and an excellent tool for social inclusion.
Table tennis as a sport has a unique value where people from different ages, gender, skills or physical condition can play together for pure enjoyment or for competition.
Hence, this is a day for people who love table tennis to spread their love for the sport and also to get people interested in it as well. This is called World Table Tennis Day!
Read more below to find out more about its history and some fun and interesting ways to take part in the celebration.
History of World Table Tennis Day
Table tennis, also called ping pong, originated during Victorian England where it was originally played as a parlor game. The term “ping-pong” was used as a catchy phrase by the company J. Jaques & Son Ltd and hence was trademarked by them in 1901.
Back in 1926, the International Table Tennis Foundation was founded by Henry Lawes from Wymondham, England. Its founding members were from nine different countries including Denmark, Czechoslovakia, India and Sweden. This organization continues to be the governing body for this sport, with 226 member Associations throughout the world.
One of the fundamental missions of The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is to promote table tennis globally, with the effort to encourage the sport to be played in each corner of the world. To accomplish this mission, ITTF created ITTF Development to make the sport accessible to everyone, even those in less privileged areas of the world.
Table tennis was rather slow to become a competitive sport, but 1926 saw the first World Table Tennis Championships played in London and they have been played annually ever since. It wasn’t until 1988 when the summer Olympics included ping pong as an official event for the first time.
Table Tennis has since honed its rules. When the 2000 Olympics in Sydney took place, they implemented rules for players to join for competition and, since then, organizations like the International Table Tennis Federation have promoted and taken table tennis to a whole new level.
One of the largest changes made in the playing of Table Tennis occurred when the official rules changed the scoring system. What had been a 21-point scoring system for 75 years was changed to a system where the first person to score 11 points wins the game. The only exception to this rule is if each player has 10 points and then the player needs to win by 2 points.
In 2015, ITTF created World Table Tennis Day to get people interested in this competitive sport. It has been promoting and celebrating the day since then so that even more people can learn about and enjoy this sport. This day is celebrated on the same day as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which is an important part of the ideals of the ping pong game.
Since then, ITTF developed a Table Tennis for ALL program with the aim to make the sport popular, universal and inclusive. The term “ALL” means more people, but not only that, also different kinds of people in terms of age, gender, social status, culture and physical ability.
Now it’s time to consider fun and exciting ways to celebrate and enjoy World Table Tennis Day!
World Table Tennis Day Timeline
Late 19th Century
Table Tennis is Invented
Originally called “Ping Pong”, since this is a trademarked name, the game ultimately needs to be renamed to table tennis, though many people still call it ping-pong.
International Table Tennis Federation is Formed
This organization is made up of representatives from nine countries: eight European countries plus India.
Table Tennis First Enters the Olympics
With singles and doubles competitions for both men and women, the first Olympic Table Tennis games are played in Seoul, Korea.
Point Scoring Changes
To make table tennis a more viable spectator sport for television, many rules were changed, one of which was to change the scoring system from 21 to 11.
World Table Tennis Day is Created
Celebrated on April 6, World Table Tennis Day also coincides with the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
How to Celebrate World Table Tennis Day
Wondering about the best way to observe World Table Tennis Day? Try out some of these ideas or come up with some of your own:
Play Some Table Tennis
Getting involved with the game can be loads of fun! It just requires a couple of paddles, some ping pong balls and a table. Tables can often be found at community centers, rec centers or even schools and churches. Just grab a partner and get started. Or, for those who don’t have a friend interested in playing, it’s easy to fold one side of the table up and practice alone!
Buy a Ping Pong Table
Although it does tend to take up a bit of space, a ping pong table, or Table Tennis table, is actually a fairly affordable purchase for a family to enjoy. Many families like to put them in the basement or the garage, places which tend to offer extra space for the family to enjoy.
Get ready to have some amazing, unplugged family time by playing ping pong or even arranging to have a table tennis tournament. When the weather is nice, it’s even possible to play table tennis outside!
Join a World Table Tennis Day Event
World Table Tennis Day is celebrated by organizing activities, such as tournaments and exhibitions on the streets, clubs, bars, schools, workplaces, shopping centers and more. All of these events can be registered on the official website of the day, tt4all.com, to join the world wide celebration.
Watch Table Tennis Competitions on Television
For those who are looking for other ways to celebrate World Table Tennis Day, consider taking some time to watch competitive world tennis on TV. Those who have trouble finding games on television might be able to find them online through YouTube. Check out the Team USA website to get a list of where to view sanctioned table tennis events. It might even be fun to share it on social media so friends can know what day it is and enjoy the celebration as well!
World Table Tennis Day FAQs
What is World Table Tennis Day?
World Table Tennis Day is observed by people around the world who celebrate the sport of table tennis as well as the universality and inclusiveness it represents.
When is World Table Tennis Day?
World Table Tennis Day takes place on April 6 of each year.
Is Table Tennis an Olympic Sport?
Yes! Table Tennis has been included as an Olympic sport since 1988, including singles and doubles for men and women.
Who Invented Table Tennis?
The invention of table tennis is credited to Englishman David Foster in 1890.
When did World Table Tennis Day start?
World Table Tennis Day was founded in the year 2015 and has been celebrated on April 6 since then.