International Table Tennis Federation

International Table Tennis Federation
Abbreviation ITTF
Formation 1926
Type Sports federation
Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
222 member associations
Thomas Weikert
For other uses, see ITTF.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the governing body for all international table tennis associations.[1] The role of the ITTF includes overseeing rules and regulations and seeking technological improvement for the sport of table tennis. The ITTF is responsible for the organization of numerous international competitions, including the World Table Tennis Championships that has continued since 1926.

Founding history

The ITTF was founded in 1926 by, the nine founding members being Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, India, Sweden and Wales.[2] The first international tournament was held in January 1926 in Berlin while the first World Table Tennis Championships was held in December 1926 in London.

Toward the end of 2000, the ITTF instituted several rules changes aimed at making table tennis more viable as a televised spectator sport. The older 38 mm balls were officially replaced by 40 mm balls.[3] This increased the ball's air resistance and effectively slowed down the game.

On 29 February 2008, the ITTF announced several rules changes after an ITTF Executive Meeting in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China with regards to a player's eligibility to play for a new association. The new ruling is to encourage associations to develop their own players.[4]

The headquarters of the ITTF is in Lausanne, Switzerland. The previous president of the ITTF was Adham Sharara from Canada; the current president since 2014 is Thomas Weikert from Germany.


Continental Federations

The ITTF recognises six continental federations.[5] Each continental federation has a president as its top official and owns its constitution.[6] The following are recognised federations:

Continent Members Continental Federation
Africa 51 African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF)
Asia 45 Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU)
Europe 58 European Table Tennis Union (ETTU)
Latin America 40 Latin American Table Tennis Union (ULTM)
Northern America 4 Northern American Table Tennis Union (NATTU)
Oceania 24 Oceania Table Tennis Federation (OTTF)

National Federations

There are currently 222 member associations within the ITTF.[5]

Organisational Structure

All member associations of the ITTF attend annual general meeting (AGM).[6] Agendas on changes of the constitution, laws of table tennis, applications for membership etc. are discussed and finalised through votes. Also, the president of ITTF, 8 executive vice-presidents, and 32 or less continental representatives are elected at an AGM, serving for a four-year term. The president, executive vice-presidents, and the chairman of the athletes' commission compose executive committee.

The executive committee, continental representatives and presidents of the six continental federations or their appointees compose the board of directors (Board). The Board manages the work of the ITTF between AGMs. Several committees, commissions, working groups or panels work under the constitution of ITTF or under the Board.

Role in diplomacy

Unlike the organisations for more popular sports, the ITTF tends to recognise teams from generally unrecognised governing bodies for disputed territory. For example, it currently recognises the Table Tennis Federation of Kosovo even though Kosovo is excluded from most other sports. It recognised the People's Republic of China in 1953 and allowed some basic diplomacy[7][8] which lead to an opening for U.S. President Richard Nixon, called "Ping Pong Diplomacy", in the early 1970s.


Player eligibility

For ITTF World Title events, a player is eligible to play for his association by registering with the ITTF. If the player chooses to play for a new association, he shall register with the ITTF, through the new association.[9]

Service and point system

The table tennis point system was reduced from a 21 to an 11-point scoring system in 2001.[3] A game shall be won by the player or pair first scoring 11 points unless both players or pairs score 10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player or pair subsequently gaining a lead of 2 points. This was intended to make games more fast-paced and exciting. The ITTF also changed the rules on service to prevent a player from hiding the ball during service,[10] in order to increase the average length of rallies and to reduce the server's advantage. Today, the game changes from time to time mainly to improve on the excitement for television viewers.

Speed glue ban

See also: Speed glue

In 2007, ITTF's board of directors in Zagreb decided to implement the VOC-free glue rule at Junior events, starting from 1 January 2008, as a transitional period before the full implementation of the VOC ban on 1 September 2008.[11]

As of 1 January 2009, all speed glue was to have been banned.


Conventions: MT/WT: Men's/Women's Teams; MS/WS: Men's/Women's Singles; MD/WD: Men's/Women's Doubles; XD: Mixed Doubles [12]

Major international events
Competition name First held Held every ITTF ranking[13] Events
World Championships 1926 Odd-numbered year R1 B1
World Team Championships 1926 Even-numbered year R1
Men's World Cup 1980 One year R1 B2
Summer Olympic Games 1988 Four years R1 B1
World Team Cup 1990 Odd-numbered year R1
Women's World Cup 1996 One year R1 B2
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals 1996 One year R2 B2
Junior events
Competition name First held Held every ITTF ranking[13] Events
ITTF Global Junior Circuit 1992 One year R2 B4
World Junior Championships 2003 One year R1 B3
ITTF Global Cadet Challenge 2003 One year R2 B4
Summer Youth Olympic Games 2010 Four years R1 B3
Para events
Competition name First held Held every Events
Summer Paralympic Games 1960 Four years
ITTF Para Table Tennis World Championships 1990 Four years
Defunct ITTF events
Competition name First held Last held ITTF ranking[13] Events
China vs. World Challenge 2004 2012 R2

ITTF world ranking

The ITTF maintains a ranking of the results of all the aforementioned and other recognised competitions. The following table shows the top 20 players considering the current ITTF world ranking, as of August 2016.

# Name Points Move
1 China Ma Long 3384 Steady
2 China Fan Zhendong 3255 Steady
3 China Xu Xin 3208 Steady
4 China Zhang Jike 3136 Steady
5 Japan Jun Mizutani 3103 Increase1
6 Germany Dimitrij Ovtcharov 3033 Decrease1
7 Chinese Taipei Chuang Chih-yuan 2819 Steady
8 Belarus Vladimir Samsonov 2754 Increase1
9 Hong Kong Wong Chun Ting 2728 Decrease1
10= South Korea Jung Young-sik 2644 Increase2
10= Portugal Marcos Freitas 2644 Increase1
12 China Fang Bo 2626 Decrease2
13 Germany Timo Boll 2609 Steady
14 South Korea Joo Sae-hyuk 2550 Steady
15 Japan Koki Niwa 2540 Increase7
16 Hong Kong Tang Peng 2538 Decrease1
17 Portugal Tiago Apolónia 2498 Increase1
18 France Simon Gauzy 2492 Decrease1
19 South Korea Lee Sang-su 2488 Decrease3
20 Croatia Andrej Gaćina 2480 Decrease1

# Name Points Move
1 China Liu Shiwen 3504 Steady
2 China Ding Ning 3466 Steady
3 China Li Xiaoxia 3317 Increase2
4 China Zhu Yuling 3298 Decrease1
5 Singapore Feng Tianwei 3215 Decrease1
6 Japan Kasumi Ishikawa 3176 Steady
7 Germany Han Ying 3084 Steady
8 Japan Ai Fukuhara 3058 Steady
9 Chinese Taipei Cheng I-ching 3057 Increase1
10 Japan Mima Ito 2998 Decrease1
11 South Korea Jeon Ji-hee 2989 Steady
12 Singapore Yu Mengyu 2983 Increase1
13 China Wu Yang 2974 Decrease1
14 Germany Petrissa Solja 2925 Increase1
15 Hong Kong Doo Hoi Kem 2920 Increase7
16 Japan Miu Hirano 2900 Decrease2
17 Netherlands Li Jie 2861 Steady
18 Austria Liu Jia 2860 Increase7
19= Hong Kong Tie Ya Na 2856 Decrease3
19= Japan Hina Hayata 2856 Steady

Updated in August 2016 (after Rio 2016) at

See also


  1. "Official ITTF website".
  2. "ITTF Archives".
  3. 1 2 "ITTF Table Tennis Timeline".
  4. "New Rule in Favour of the Development of Table Tennis". Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  5. 1 2 "ITTF Directory".
  6. 1 2 "I T T F". ITTF. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  7. McCurry, Justin (2008-05-06). "Ping-pong diplomacy back on table as Chinese premier visits Japan". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  8. "ITTF Archives: 1953 Bucarest AGM Minutes". ITTF. 1953-03-23. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-07-17. Only the People's Republic of China Table Tennis Association was taken at this stage, in order to regularise their playing in the Championships and attending Congress. The Meeting confirmed the Advisory Committee's action in accepting the application.
  9. "Information about the Eligibility Rule". ITTF. 2008-10-13.
  10. Colin Clemett. "Rules Evolution" (PDF). ITTF. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  11. "Official Message to Table Tennis Manufacturers And National Associations" (PDF). ITTF. 2008-11-24.
  12. "ITTF Calendar". ITTF. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  13. 1 2 3 "Policy for Inclusion in the ITTF World Ranking" (PDF). ITTF. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
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