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The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) set out the rules of the Paralympic version of this game . The sport is played in both The Special Olympics and The Paralympics. Any types of disability may participate.
Athletes are placed in classifications between 1 and 10. wheelchair users are placed in classes 1 to 5 while athletes not confined to wheelchairs are placed into classes 6-10.
A game is played up to eleven points; this was not the case before 2001 when it was a twenty-one point game. The server of the first point is decided by the flip of a coin. Whoever wins the toss get three options to choose from? These are;
To serve first.
Have the opponent serve first or
Choosing which end to play first.
If the winner of the toss decides which end to play then the opponent gets the chance to serve first or make the opponent serve first?
The rules are that the server must stand behind the end of the table to serve. The ball is then tossed up in the air by the player and as the ball is falling, it must be hit with the racket or paddle as it is sometimes called.
The ball must bounce once on your own side of the table and at least once on your opponent’s side. If the ball bounces more than once on the opponents side of the table, they lose the point.
If the ball hits off the net and then bounces on your opponents side the point must be replayed. However the server can lose the point if the ball hits the net and doesn’t bounce on the opponent’s side.
In the modern game the number of serves a player has also changed. In the new format of eleven games a player only has two serves compared to the old twenty-one point game with a maximum of five serves.
If a game is at deuce (10-10) then the winner is the person who gains a two point advantage.
The equipment required is a ball, a racket and a table. The ball used in table tennis is 2.7 grams in weight and 40mm in diameter.
This ball was introduced after the Summer Olympics in Sydney. Before that a 38mm ball was used.
A table tennis ball is decorated with stars. These stars indicate the quality of the ball. If a ball has three stars it is of the highest quality.
The table used for table tennis is nine feet long and five feet wide. The net measures six inches in height which separates the two sides of the table. According to the ITTF the table must be green or blue or colour.
Players use a racket which is laminated and is covered on one or both sides by rubber depending how the player grips the racket. The wooden portion known as the blade can be made of any wood type.
Some common woods are Balsa, Limba and Cypress. The blade of the racket is about 6.5 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Different types of surfaces are allowed on a racket. These different types of surfaces have an outcome of how much spin the racket can cause. According to the ITTF once side of the racket must be red and the other black.
A racket cannot be changed during play, unless it has become damaged.
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