Table Tennis Commonwealth Games
These pictures perhaps give some hint why, in the early 1900s, Russia banned the sport of ping-pong. Clinicians feared it could damage players' eyesight.
Indeed, it is a sport of fast and furious play, demanding superhuman reactions and fearsome capacity for focus. Any momentary lapse of concentration can cost players valuable points.
So it's no wonder these players, at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, are so intensely focused on those tiny, round plastic spheres. In them are concentrated all their dreams of athletic glory.
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Eyes on the ball! Scotland's Corinna Whitaker looks like she's been suddenly distracted as she serves the ball during her match against Guyana's Trenace Lowe
Supreme concentration: India's Kamal Sharath Achanta, left, serves the ball against Nigeria's Ojo Onaolapo. Right, Paul McCreery of Northen Ireland in action
Eyes on the prize: Canada's Pierre-Luc Theriault prepares to play a return to Gilton Chelibe Charlotte of Uganda
Numinous experience: Jersey's Craig Gascoyne looks like he's just seen God appear in the audience as he serves the ball to Shakirin Muhd Ibrahim of Malaysia
GImme a break: Erandi Warusawithana of Sri Lanka looks like she's explaining why she shouldn't have to tidy her room while playing against Malaysia's Ng Sock Khim
Don't blink! Left, Maldives' Aminath Shareef serves the ball to Uganda's Amina Lukaaya, who is pictured right, serving it back in the same qualification match
Don't let down the side: Angharad Phillips of Wales purses her lips with tension in a doubles match against Curtis Humphreys and Ashley Quashie of Trinidad and Tobago
Hold it in! Ghosh Soumyajit of India looks like he's strenuously delaying a visit to the toilet as he plays doubles alongside Ghatak Poulomi
An unfinished clown nose? Annie Yang of New Zealand appears to be wearing the ball as she serves the ball to Northern Ireland's Emma Ludlow
My style is the best: Ryan Jenkins of Wales, left, prepares to serve forehand. But Madhurikaa Paatkar of India, right, apparently prefers a backhand stroke
Tongue-biting action: Hu Heming and Melissa Tapper of Australia compete against Anthony Ringui and Jinita Azad Kumar Shah of Kenya in the mixed doubles
Please God, don't let me miss... Rohan Sirisena of Sri Lanka seems to be appealing for divine assistance as he serves against Gavin Rumgay of Scotland
Reflexes: Guernsey's Ashley Quashie, left, serves the ball to Scotland's Gillian Edwards. Right, Singapore's Gao Ning serves the ball to England's Liam Pitchford
Hungry for glory: Harmeet Rajul Desai of India looks like he's about to take a bit out of his paddle as he plays Quadri Aruna of Nigeria in the Men's Team Table Tennis Final
While Canada's Pierre-Luc Theriault, left, looks like he's playing headers, Gavin Rumgay of Scotland stares intently as he services against Rohan Sirisena of Sri Lanka