1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://tabletennis.about.com/od/QuizQuestions/a/Table-Tennis-Rules-Quiz-Question-16-Answer.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Table Tennis Rules Quiz Question 16 - Answer

By

Table Tennis Rules Quiz Question 16 - Answer

Poland's Natalia Partyka - who competes at both the Olympics and Paralympics!

Photo: An Sung Ho, by courtesy www.ittf.com
You can find the original questions and poll results here.

The Results

Results at the time of writing are as follows:

Option 1: 3 votes (8%)
Option 2: 0 votes (0%)
Option 3: 3 votes (8%)
Option 4: 18 votes (51%)
Option 5: 9 votes (25%)
Option 6: 2 votes (5%)

with a grand total of 35 votes.

First of all, I must admit that until recently I would have leaned towards Option 1: The player can serve anywhere as normal, the wheelchair rules only apply for wheelchair events, or Option 6: The question is invalid, since wheelchair players are not allowed to compete in open tournaments. But a few weeks ago I had to brush up on my ITTF Laws of Table Tennis in order to run a state umpire umpire's coaching course, and the course notes alerted me to the adding of the laws for wheelchair play directly into the main laws of the game. I've listed the changes below.

ITTF Laws of Table Tennis
2.09.01 The rally shall be a let
2.09.01.05 if the receiver is in wheelchair owing to a physical disability and in service the ball, provided that the service is otherwise correct,
2.09.01.05.01 after touching the receiver's court returns in the direction of the net;
2.09.01.05.02 comes to rest on the receiver's court;
2.09.01.05.03 in singles leaves the receiver’s court after touching it by either of its sidelines.

The ITTF Handbook for Match Officials has also had a paragraph added to further explain the new rule changes, which reads:

ITTF Handbook for Match Officials
11.5 Wheelchair Play
11.5.1 If the receiver is in a wheelchair due to a physical disability, the rally is a let if the ball comes to rest on the receiver’s court, or after touching the receiver’s court returns in the direction of the net, or, in singles, leaves the receiver’s court after touching it by either of the sidelines. The ball can cross the sideline after one or more bounces. However, in singles play and where the ball is travelling towards the side line, if the receiver strikes the ball before it crosses a sideline or takes a second bounce on his or her side of the playing surface, the service is considered good and no let is called.

The first result of the introduction of these new rules is that it is now clear that the ITTF has no problem with wheelchair players competing in open tournaments under ITTF rules, which means that Option 6: The question is invalid, since wheelchair players are not allowed to compete in open tournaments, is not correct.

The second result is that it is also clear that the ITTF wishes to make sure that the server cannot unfairly take advantage of the wheelchair player's lack of mobility, and has tried to lay down rules to stop this from happening, while not unfairly penalizing the server for making a mistake when serving. So we can see there are a number of rules preventing the server from serving the ball out of the wheelchair player's reach by bouncing it backwards using backspin, or angling it wide to either side of the table. (Note that the Handbook for Match Officials makes it clear that the ball only has to leave the receiver's court via the sideline to be a let, it does not matter how often it bounces before doing so.)

So Option 2: The ball must not bounce back towards the net after touching the receiver's court, otherwise the server loses the point, is not correct, since if this occurred, the rally would be called a let.

Option 3: The ball must not bounce twice on the receiver's court, if it does the point is a let is not correct either, since there is no mention in the ITTF Laws about the ball only being allowed to bounce once on the receiver's side of the table, and as such we can assume that the ball can bounce more than once (if not hit by the receiver, of course).

Option 5: The serve must only bounce once on the receiver's court, and must be going to exit the receiver's court via the endline if left untouched by the receiver. If it doesn't or wouldn't, the point is a let, is getting closer to the correct answer, but as there is no provision that the ball must bounce only once on the receiver's side of the table, it is not the correct choice either.

This leaves us with Option 4: The ball must not leave the receiver's court via the sidelines, after touching the receiver's court. If it does, the point is a let, as the correct choice. Note that the Handbook for Match Officials makes it clear that if the receiver wishes to hit a serve that is going to leave the court via the sidelines, he can do so, and the serve will be considered a good serve. But if the ball has already left the court via the sidelines, then the serve is considered a let, even if the receiver then hits the ball. If the receiver wishes to return the ball, he must do so before it crosses the sideline of the table.

Conclusion

The ITTF haven't made a big fuss about the inclusion of these new rules into the main Laws of Table Tennis, so it's understandable that many players would not be aware of them. But apart from the lack of publicity, the ITTF have done a pretty good job in writing their rule changes, making it clear that wheelchair players are welcome in open tournaments, and giving a fairly easy to understand set of rules (and a good explanation in the Handbook for Match Officials) to make sure that neither the server or receiver are unfairly disadvantaged when an able bodied player is serving to a wheelchair player.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.