20 Apr 2017

An inkling of innovation and any reasonably flat surface can be used to play table tennis; furthermore, give matters some thought and a wide range of materials can be adapted so the fun of playing one of the world’s most popular sports can be enjoyed.

Thus with a degree of creativity in mind, Ping Sans Frontières in liaison with the International Table Tennis Federation announces the launching of the “Building Handcrafted Table Tennis Tables” manual.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The goal is the produce low cost and durable tables. Thus the manual contains easy to read illustrated instructions explaining the various options such as concrete, recycled materials and wood than can be used for construction.

Also, the topics of environmental issues, climatic conditions and available resources are addressed.

Notably all the possibilities have been designed under the guidance of professional architects and have passed multiple practical tests in Africa and France.

A table for outdoors (Photo: courtesy of Ping Sans Frontières)


Ping Sans Frontières: Building Handcrafted Table Tennis Tables


“ITTF is one of the most active sports worldwide in terms of development. This is reflected in the fact that ITTF has recently become the first International Sports Federation to have every country on earth as a member.

Ping Sans Frontières (PSF) was formed in 2006, with the original aim to assist developing Francophone countries in Africa. They have now broadened their scope and in 2014 signed an agreement of understanding with ITTF, through our Development Programme. PSF coaches are trained to lead ITTF Coach Accreditation and Development Programme courses, and co-operate on multiple projects including this one “Building Handcrafted Table Tennis tables”.

One of the original mottos of the ITTF Development Programme is “every table is a table tennis table”. This manual takes it a step further providing opportunities to make tables locally and to not only foster sports development but development through sport. The manual is not intended to be the sole source of information on handcrafted tables, as there are already various models available throughout the world, which can hopefully be incorporated into future editions, so your feedback is appreciated. Good luck with your building!

Glenn Tepper, ITTF Deputy Chief Executive Officer


“The manual is one more step on our way to make table tennis accessible to everyone, everywhere. We are glad to see the practical fruits of this co-operation between ITTF and Ping Sans Frontières; we now have a strong relationships working together on several projects.

The World Table Tennis Day celebrations in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Tuesday 28th March and the SportAccord Convention in Aarhus presented a perfect frame for the official release. Now it is time to spread the word and put this tool into practice; I hope this manual will contribute to make our sport popular, universal and inclusive and I am looking forward to see pictures from self-made tables from all around the world!

Leandro Olvech, ITTF Director – Development


“PSF, whose main aim was to facilitate access to table tennis in the deepest poor corners of Africa has since reached out to many countries, even on other continents; thus leading to a diversity of actions. One of these actions is the handcrafted table building project.

This innovating idea will remarkably reduce costs, hence providing an alternative solution for less privileged countries. Eco-friendly with the use of recycled materials, it also provides a noteworthy advantage of developing the local economy since local carpenters will be needed.

Different models for different needs have been designed and tested on the field with outstanding success: make it as simple as possible so that any local carpenter can build them. Pertinently concrete tables can be used outdoors in any weather conditions; the classroom table amongst others even boasts a revolutionary multi-functional nature such as for playing and studying. It is a perfect match with our slogan: “education beyond the racket”.

With more hope and light thrown to a future practice in poor communities, clubs, and many disadvantaged areas around the world, PSF thanks the ITTF for their collaboration and technical advice, the carpenters, national associations, clubs and all the architects involved.”

Sarah Hanffou, Founder and President Ping Sans Frontières

The classroom table (Photo: courtesy of Ping Sans Frontières)



High Performance and Development World Table Tennis Day Sarah Hanffou Leandro Olvech Glenn Tepper