06 Dec 2016

A day in history, a very special day; today Tuesday 6th December 2016, marks 90 years since the first ever point was played at a World Table Tennis Championships.

Staged in London; the inaugural World Championships commenced on Monday 6th December 1926. Proceedings actually concluded one week later on Monday 13th December when, in the Men’s Team event Hungary beat Austria in a specially organised play-off contest, both teams having finished the scheduled tournament with five wins each in a group organised event.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A landmark event and it was made possible by men of vision, in particular by Ivor Montagu, the first ever President of the International Table Tennis Federation.

Ivor Montagu had gained the support of his colleagues at the English Table Tennis Association for the country to host the event by guaranteeing the sum of £300 he had inherited from his grandfather.

It may not appear a vast sum of money but if we take into account that currency has greatly devalued since those days, the modern day equivalent would be in the region of £15,000.

At the end of the day the loss was only half the amount; the records show that the total expenses amounted to £352.4s.6d; taking into account entry fees, ticket sales, an advertisement by the Jaques Company and various donations, the sum paid by Ivor Montagu was £150.

He lost the equivalent in today’s parlance of £7,500! The fact that he was prepared to accept such a loss, underlines his dedication and belief in the sport; remember at the time he was only 22 years old.

Ivor Montagu, who fulfilled the role of Referee and also played in the tournament, he lost India’s Raja Gopal Suppiah, had proved his doubters wrong; a major sporting event had been born.

Today raise your glass, raise your glass in tribute to Ivor Montagu, man of vision.

Ivor Montagu, a brave decision in 1926 (Photo: courtesy of Colin Clemett)
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