Table Tennis also known as Ping Pong and Gosima (name given by traders supplying the special equipment for table tennis) is a game played on a 9 ft by 5ft table, which is 2BD ft high. The celluloid ball used in this game has a diameter of 1BD inch and weighs one-tenth of an ounce. The racket has a three-inch handle joined to a round part with a 3BC-inch radius and altogether looks like a wooden scull. A six-inch high net is fixed on the middle of the table. Probably introduced in the nineteenth century, this game first gained popularity in England. Table tennis spreaded in a number of European countries between 1905 and 1910. Later, the game cast a lot of influence on many countries of the world including especially, China, Japan and Korea. In January 1926, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was formed in Germany. In 1928, a decision was made to arrange world table tennis competitions. Table tennis is now included in Olympic Games also.
Table tennis began to get popularity from the 1950s. Although the game is very popular in schools, colleges and universities, tournaments outside educational institutions are not rare. The Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation (BTTF) was created in 1972. The same year it became a member of the Asian and World Table Tennis Federations.
In terms of participation in national championships, table tennis occupies the third place in the country after football and cricket. In 1999, 36 district teams participated in national championship. Competitions other than national championship include tournaments of Dhaka City Premier Division, First Division and Women Division Club Leagues, as well as National School Competition, age-wise competition, competition by invitation, and prize money competitions. At present, side by side with BTTF a number of private organisations arrange big table tennis tournaments. Some major sponsors of such tournaments are BUET, Swamibag Table Tennis Association, and Dhaka Club.
Bangladesh takes part in different international table tennis tournaments and achieved some success too. In 1997, Bangladesh boys' team got the third place in the first junior competition among 12 countries of the SAARC and ASEAN regions. In the 1993, 1995, and 1997 SAAF Games, Bangladesh men's team received bronze. In 1983, Bangladesh played in the quarter final in Girls' singles division in the Asian Juniors' Championship held in Calcutta. In the 1997 SAAF Games, Bangladesh seized bronze in men's singles division. Bangladesh successfully hosted the Asia Cup Table Tennis Tournament in 1991.
Clubs that play in the Premier Division include Bangladesh Biman, Armanitola J S, Wari Club, Brothers' Union, Inter Spotrs, Swamibag Boys, Ajax, and Engineers' Club. Leading table tennis teams of the First Division are Dilkusha AC, Uttara Club, Orka, Mohammadpur Boys Club, Mansur Sporting Club, Young Pegasus, and Purbachal Parishad. [Gofran Faroqi]