Table Tennis/Olympic sport disciplineEVENTS
- Men's Singles
- Men's Team
- Women's Singles
- Women's Team
- Mixed Doubles
Five sets of medals and Olympic qualifications
The table tennis competition will be held at the facilities of Hutnik Arena in Kraków. It will start on June 21 and will last until July 1. There will be five sets of medals to be won, two in singles and two in the men’s and women’s team competition, as well as in the mixed doubles.
Players will fight not only for the medals of the European Games but also for the direct Olympic qualifications in the mixed doubles. 152 players will compete in Kraków. The stands at the arena will accommodate up to 1000 viewers.
Suche Stawy Arena, together with the Hutnik Stadium and the Com-Com Zone Nowa Huta, forms one of the largest sports complexes in Kraków. It is a modern sports arena with a large hall, cloakroom, judges’ room, buffet, and press room. On the first floor, there are also 7 office rooms, a boxing room, a football room with artificial grass and a conference room for 50 people.
Table tennis again at the European Games
Table tennis will appear at the European Games for the third time. At the facilities of the Hutnik Arena in Kraków, there will be five sets of medals to be won, not to mention it’s also an opportunity for players to earn the spot at the Olympic Games.
Although table tennis is mainly associated with Asia, and above all China, the game comes from Great Britain. In the 19th century, it was the upper classes’ entertainment, played mostly by officers and the local elite. Originally played with a golf ball, the invention of the celluloid ball in 1901 was a major breakthrough, as was the introduction of rubber to the wooden blade, used for the game two years later.
Although the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was founded in 1926, and the first official world championships were held then, the unofficial competition for the title of the best player in the world dates back to 1902.
Table tennis had to wait for its Olympic debut until 1988, in Seoul. Since then, it has become a permanent member of the Olympic family, although tennis competitions included in the Olympic Games’ programme have changed over the years.
The rules have changed significantly over the years. After the Olympic Games in Sydney, to make the discipline more attractive to viewers, several modifications were made. The diameter of the ball increased from 38 to 40 millimetres. White or orange balls are allowed. The rules of the match and the number of sets have also been changed. Currently, games are played to 11 points (or to a two-point advantage if tied 10-10), and to four sets won.
Matches are played on a table that is 76 centimetres high, 274 centimetres long and 152.5 centimetres wide. The net on the table is 15.24 centimetres high.
During the game, serves are alternately served twice (if it reaches 10:10 only once), and the ball must be thrown at least 16 centimeters above the table. It is not allowed to hit from the air without first contacting the table in one’s half, hitting the ball with any part of the body other than the hand holding the racket and touching the tabletop, which does not apply to the hand holding the racket.
The competition at the Olympic Games takes place in men’s and women’s singles, in mixed competitions, as well as in women’s and men’s team competitions. Women’s and men’s doubles competition is also held at championship events, but since 2008 and the Beijing Games, it has been removed from the Olympic programme.