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Timeline of Table Tennis Milestones



1880s Adaption of lawn tennis to the dining table with improvised equipment
1890s Several patents registered in England and the USA
  Manufactured sets produced under trade names such as Gossima, and Indoor Tennis, with Lawn Tennis style rules
1900 Introduction of celluloid balls to replace rubber and cork ones. The celluloid ball had the perfect bounce, and the game became a huge success
1901 Table Tennis Association and rival Ping Pong Association formed in England; amalgamated in 1903
  First books on the game published in England
  The game is introduced in China via western settlements
1904 Ping Pong craze fades, some pockets of popularity in eastern Europe continue
1922 Revival of the game in Europe, though laws varied
  Establishment of standard laws of the Game in England
1926 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) initiated in Berlin
  First World Championships held in London, England. ITTF Constitution adopted, along with first set of standardized Laws

1920s – 50s Classic Hard Bat Era (European Dominance)

1926 – 31 Maria Mednyanszky (HUN) wins the world championships five times consecutively. Mednyansky wins 18 gold medals over-all
1930 – 35 Victor Barna (HUN) becomes five times world champion and is runner-up 1931 losing the final against his compatriot Miklos Szabados. Barna wins a record 22 gold medals at world championships during his career, 40 medals overall
1936 Tenth World Championships held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. The longest rally took place, the first point taking over two hours
1939 First continental association formed: South America
  First World Championship held outside Europe: Cairo, Egypt
1950 – 55 Angelica Rozeanu-Adelstein (ROU) wins the World Championships six times in a row and is the last non Asian to win the female singles title until today

1950s – 80s Age of Sponge Bat and Technology (Beginning of Asian Dominance)

1952 Nineteenth World Championships held in Bombay, India
  The first to be staged in Asia and Japan’s entry to the international scene
  Hiroji Satoh (JPN) became the first player to win a world championship when using a racket covered with thick sponge and is the first non-European winner
  Inauguration of the Asian Federation
  First Asian Federation Championships
1953 China entered the Championships for the first time
1954 Ichiro Ogimura (JPN) is the epitome of Japanese dominance with technological development and physical training
1956 Tomie Okada-Okawa (JPN) is the first female player from Asia to win the World Championships and stops the European reign on world’s female table tennis.
1957 World Championship changes to a two-year cycle
1958 First European Championships, Budapest, Hungary. The USSR made their entry to the international scene
1959 Rong Guotuan (CHN) is the first Chinese world champion in any sport
  Racket standardization laws enacted
1962 First All-Africa Championships, Alexandria, Egypt
1967 Ivor Montagu retired as President of the ITTF after forty years in office
1971 First Commonwealth Championships held in Singapore
  Ping Pong Diplomacy: table tennis played an important role in international diplomacy when several teams were invited to China for a series of friendship matches after the 1971 World Championships. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai: “Your visit to China has opened the door for people-to-people exchanges between China and the USA.”
1971 Stellan Bengtsson (SWE) wins the men’s singles title and heralds the start of three decades of Swedish influence, with top players such as Kjell Johansson, Mikael Appelgren, Erik Lindh, Jan-Ove Waldner, Jörgen Persson, and Peter Karlsson
1973 First World University Championships held in Hanover, Germany
1977 ITTF received formal declaration of its recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
1979 First European Championships for Paraplegics (wheelchair players) held in Stoke Mandeville, England
1980 First World Cup held in Hong Kong
1981 World Championships held in Nova Sad, Yugoslavia. Total triumph for China, whose athletes win all of the seven gold medals
  Table tennis admitted to the Olympic programme (84th session IOC)
1982 First World Veterans’ Championships held in Gothenburg, Sweden
  First World Championships for the disabled held in Stoke Mandeville, England
1985 European Youth Championships held in The Hague, Holland

Modern Olympics Era (Chinese Reign with few exceptions)

1988 For the very first time, table tennis was featured in the Olympic Games that were held in Seoul, South Korea
1992 Former World champion, Jan-Ove Waldner (SWE) became Olympic singles champion and reputedly, the first table tennis millionaire
1995 World Championships held in Tianjin, China. Total triumph for China for the second time, winning seven gold medals
1996 Beginning of the ITTF Pro Tour, with events taking place all around the world
2000 After the Olympics in Sydney, the ball size is increased to 40mm for improved television viewing
2001 Game score changed from 21 to 11 points
  World Championships held in Osaka, Japan. Total triumph for China for the third time, winning all of the seven gold medals
2002 Implementation of the ITTF World Junior Circuit (U18) and World Cadet Challenge (U15 continental team competition)
2003 First ITTF World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile
  Team Championships separated from individual events, held in alternate years
2004 During the Olympic Games in Athens, Table Tennis ranked 5th among all sports for television viewing audience
2005 World Championships held in Shanghai, China. Total triumph again for China, winning all of the five gold medals
2006 World Championships held in Bremen, Germany. The Chinese athletes complete the collection with two gold medals in the team events
2007 World Championships held in Zagreb, Croatia. Total triumph number five for China, winning all of the five gold medals
  First appearance of table tennis as a compulsory sport at the Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand
2010 Table tennis is part of the first Youth Olympic Games


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