History of this sport
Despite the success of this sport in Asia, it was born in England as “ping-pong” by the end of the 19th century, after a rainy afternoon in the England club. Tennis players, frustrated for not being able to play due to bad weather, had the idea to improvise an indoors game with characteristics similar to tennis, but in miniature size. They took a squared table, in the centre they placed a rope held in place by wooden poles, using it as a net and then they took a flat object to replace the racket. They used any object as a ball, and the first ones were made from cork.
Table tennis has come a long way from its origins, when high class English families used to play after dinner. Over a century later, it is the sport with the largest number of recreational players.
In its beginnings, table tennis had names such as “ping-pong”, “whif, waff” and “flim flam”, that imitated the ball’s sounds upon being struck. In 1926 it is named table tennis after the foundation of the English Association, and after this the International Table Tennis Federation was born, the same one we know today, after the first world congress and championship in 1927.
In 1992, the definitive name is adopted and the regulations are composed by a Cambridge student.
This discipline has been celebrated in the Pan American Games since the 1979 edition in San Juan. The United States leads the all-time medal count with 23 gold medals.