11 Jan 2013

The World Championship of Ping Pong

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The World Championship of Ping Pong was held this past week (January 5-6) at the Alexandra Palace in London. The event had a $100,000 purse for top table tennis players to win in a made-for-TV event put together by Barry Hearn–the maven of snooker, darts, and just about every other sport you see on TV.

Unlike other top table tennis events, the World Championship of Ping Pong had all players using the same equipment–a sandpaper bat that features layers of carbon and is based off of the Table Tennis Nation blade (Table Tennis Nation was a part of the paddle’s development).

The paddle was designed to increase the length of rallies and eliminate the incredible spins that modern rackets are best known for. As Hearn said, “I’m not a fan of sponge bats and I’m not a fan of spin. The game thirty years ago was bigger when it was hard bat and people were watching extended athletic rallies that were more televisual. Today’s modern table tennis frankly doesn’t fit television. It’s too up close and personal, you don’t get enough rallies and I think we need to go back to something like this to see if we can create proper sporting atmosphere. I’m fairly critical of modern day table tennis. I don’t think it fits into today’s market but I think this might.”

Picture via World Championship of Ping Pong

The tournament aired on Sky TV and featured 64 players. The reaction to the show so far has been incredible with ratings 3-4 times higher than expected. The event also featured a “double point ball” (another aspect Table Tennis Nation brought to the table).

The paddle though, was the key to the whole tournament. Designed to make rallies longer and level the playing field among pros, it made for much better television viewing than tournaments where players can use more or less whatever they choose.

While the event was for pros, the paddle can help beginners as well. There are more and more events popping up using these Table Tennis Nation-style rackets (many in the US, but throughout the UK and Europe as well). The World Championship of Ping Pong hasn’t made their specific paddles available, but the Table Tennis Nation paddles they’re based on are available through their website for less than £28 delivered.

You can learn more about the World Championship of Ping Pong here.

Did you watch it? What did you think?
Let us know in the comments, on facebook, and on twitter.

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One Response to “The World Championship of Ping Pong”

  1. Reply Jojo says:

    Cool Post!


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