Table Tennis rules UK
The Chinese are a dominant force in table tennis
Table tennis began in the 19th Century as an after-dinner parlour game for upper-class Victorians.
Back then, a cigar box lid was used to hit a rounded Champagne cork over books on the dining room table, but it has developed into an exciting, fast-paced sport with the ball travelling at speeds of up to 70mph.
Manufacturers began to make the equipment, with early rackets often nothing more than pieces of parchment stretched upon a frame, with the distinctive sound generated in play giving the game its first nicknames of 'Whiff-Whaff' and 'Ping-Pong'.
Table tennis made its Olympic debut in 1988 and its Commonwealth Games bow in 2002.
HOW COMPETITIONS UNFOLD
Table tennis competitions feature men's and women's singles and doubles, mixed doubles and team events. There are also events for elite athletes with a disabilty (EAD).
Matches are played in a best-of-five or seven-game format - games are played to 11 points and a player must hold a two-point margin to win the game.
To serve, a player must hold the ball, behind the edge of the table, in the palm of their hand and then throw it upwards, without spin, a minimum of six inches before hitting it so that it bounces once on their own side of the net and then again in the opponent's court.
As in tennis, if the ball hits the net and goes over and bounces in the opponent's court from a serve, a let is called and the point replayed.
Service alternates every two points regardless of who wins the point, and - in the final game of a match - when one player reaches five points, the players switch ends.
A point is awarded to your opponent if you hit the ball before it has bounced on your side of the net (unless it has already gone past the end of the table), hit the ball twice, hit the ball with anything other than your paddle, allow the ball to bounce twice on your side, return the ball so that it bounces on your side of the net and placing your hand on the table.
In doubles, the rules are the same as for singles play apart from two notable exceptions - the ball must be served diagonally from the server's right-hand court into the receiver's right-hand court and all four players hit the ball in rotation.