Sweden Defensive

Table Tennis Sweden

Table tennis arrived to Sweden as a recreational game called ping-pong sometime in the 1890's, marketed by the Jacques company of London. A club championship was organized in 1906, but the rules were more similar to tennis. The serve was not required to bounce on the server's side, and volleys were allowed throughout the point! I can hardly imagine.

Development of table tennis equipment was a slow process, and the sport almost died out in Sweden in the 1910's. However, in part due to cold winters, table tennis gained in popularity after WWI mainly in the large cities.

Clubs started to develop and in 1925 the first "large" tournament was organized. 256 players registered, all of whom were required to help the referee. It was a success with the public. The best players were generally tennis players.

More national tournaments were organized, which were covered by the large newspapers. Public reaction was divided on this new sport. Some wrote that it had a loyal atmosphere played by gentlemen. Others however warned that it could "lure" teenagers away from more "healthy", outdoor sports such as track and field and skiing.

In 1926, more clubs and tournaments were organized, and Sweden became involved with the international effort to promote the sport. After some opposition, the Swedish Table Tennis Association (STTA) was created and joined to ITTF in 1926. The same year, Sweden sent a player to play in their first World Team Championships. However, after losing his overcoat on the boat to England, Henrik Ander lost his first match to England's Farris.

Sweden was delegated the 1928 World Team Championships, in which 165 players from 11 nations participated. Sweden was dissipointed with its fifth place finish. Sweden again hosted the World Team Championships in 1949, which this time contributed to both economic funds and popularity of the sport. An audience of 15, 000 contributed 52, 000 kronor (ca $5200).

For STTA's 25th year anniversary in 1951, a special national tournament is organized. 6000 players from 600 clubs participate. Friendly matched with England are also organized, but Sweden loses 0-5. In the 1953 World Team Championships in Bucharest, Sweden loses big to China 1-5. Two new tournaments are organized at home: "Talant Search" in which elite players are not allowed, and a disabled event.

Source: www.pongworld.com
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