World Table Tennis Championships
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)’s World Table Tennis Championships, which began in 1926, are one of the top ping pong competitions in the world.
In January 1926, 64 male athletes from nine countries joined a table tennis competition in Berlin, Germany. There, the participants decided to hold the European Table Tennis Championships, which was the predecessor of the worldwide tournament. In December of the same year, the ITTF was established, and it expanded the tournament beyond Europe and renamed it the World Table Tennis Championships, which were first held in London, England.
In the early days of the tournament, Hungary’s men’s team dominated - winning 12 times. The era was a golden period for European teams, which garnered nearly all the trophies. Yet Europe’s advantage was challenged by the rise of Japanese team in the 1950s as its female players won eight titles.
China had been a burgeoning power since 1959 when Rong Guotuan grabbed the first trophy. However, it was not until the early 1980s when the country truly dominated the tournament, winning the men’s and women’s titles year after year.
Famous Chinese table tennis players include Deng Yaping, Zhang Yining, Sun Yue, Wang Nan, Wang Hao, Wang Liqin and Liu Guoliang. Yet the most legendary figure in modern table tennis tournament history was Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner, who was dubbed as the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of table tennis. His career lasted more than 20 years, during which many top Chinese players, including Liu Guoliang, Wang Liqin and Ma Lin, competed against him.
Swaythling Cup: men’s team
Corbillon Cup: women’s team
St. Bride Vase: men’s singles
Geist Prize: women’s singles
Iran Cup: men’s doubles
W.J. Pope Trophy: women’s doubles
Heydusek Cup: mixed doubles