Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Black is bold!

Published:Monday | March 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM
National player Shanique Claire playing on a blue surface. Blue is the current regulation colour for international table tennis tables.

For the first time ever, black tables will be used at the World Table Tennis Championships this year. This was announced in a release last week from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The black boards have been created by the federation's official table supplier, Double Happiness.

Designed under the theme 'Black is Bold', the new tables are expected to add to the viewing pleasure of those watching the event, which begins on May 29 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The table is supported by a base carrying the red, gold and black colours of the German flag. According to the ITTF, "the whole table takes on a good visual identity and colour blending if it is shot at a lower angle and closer distance to bring about a fresh experience for spectators."

The move is the latest experiment with colour in the sport. Tables were originally green with white lines and balls. In 1985, the rules changed to stipulate that racquets be coloured red on one side and black on the other. Yellow balls came onto the table soon after to allow players to wear white shirts. That experiment seemed not to have worked as the yellow ball isn't used in major competitions.

Since then, blue tables have been used.

While the size of the ball has changed from 38 millimetres in circumference to 40 in 2000, and later to a 40-plus configuration, the table remains nine feet in length, five feet wide, and the surface is still two and a half feet off the ground.

- H.L.