Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, players must allow a ball played toward them only one bounce on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side. Points are scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. A skilled player can impart several varieties of spin to the ball, altering its trajectory and limiting an opponent's options to great advantage.
Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 217 member associations. The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook. Since 1988, table tennis has been an Olympic sport, with several event categories. In particular, from 1988 until 2004, these were: men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles. Since 2008 a team event has been played instead of the doubles. In 2007, the governance for table tennis for persons with a disability was transferred from the International Paralympic Committee to the ITTF.
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