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 Post subject: Paralympics table tennis
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2018, 02:43 
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It suddenly occurred to me that I'd never actually watched (or even seen posted here) a wheelchair table tennis match. I found several on YouTube, this was from the quarterfinals of the London Paralympics in 2012. China vs. Germany.



Quite interesting - both players are restricted to playing right up next to the table (one wonders if anyone ever plays further back - maybe not). One wonders if this wouldn't be the ideal situation for pips out hitting. One also wonders what the rules are concerning serves - would ghost serves be allowed? If the ball dies six inches from the net I don't think anyone would be able to reach it, so would there be a rule against it? You'd have to be a superlative player to be able to produce such a serve in the first place, of course... Also you wonder if high lobbing might not be a viable tactic. Long, fast serves seem to be a strong weapon in this game.

There was a player in Florida back in the 1990s who was rated over 2000 playing in a wheelchair. I forget his name, but they often printed photos of him looping. According to one of the Yeh brothers I talked to at a tournament (Norman or Clark, can't remember which) this man would about fall out of his wheelchair when he looped the ball. How well might you do against one of these two?

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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2018, 02:21 
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Another match. South Korea (someone called Joo!) vs. Germany.



This seems to be a different class than the first match - I think the two players have more serious disabilities. They have to tape their bats to their hands, and their ability to move in their chairs is very restricted. The German player has to serve without using his other hand, the Korean player has to serve projecting the ball off his thumb and forefinger. What's fascinating is the tactics - among them are very, very short serves (these sometimes result in an ace), extremely angled drives and chop-blocks (I wish I was able to do those!) and high lobs (which don't miss) and which have to be countered right off the bounce. The end of the third game is REALLY interesting - two different styles at play. Note that at the next table there is a match going on with ambulatory players - yet another class.

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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2018, 06:37 
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Iskandar,

Ghost serves are definitely not allowed in wheelchair table tennis. I think for a serve the ball has to leave the table via the end line, not either of the sidelines.

<googling and finding Wikipedia and copying here>

Service

If the receiver is in wheelchair, the service shall be a let under the following circumstances:[4]

After touching the receiver's court, the ball returns in the direction of the net.
The ball comes to rest on the receiver's court.
In singles, the ball leaves the receiver's court after touching it by either of its sidelines.

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.[5]
Doubles

When two players who are in wheelchairs are a pair playing doubles, the server shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return but thereafter either player of the disabled pair may make returns.[6] However, no part of a player's wheelchair shall protrude beyond the imaginary extension of the centre line of the table. If it does, the umpire shall award the point to the opposing pair.
Limb positions

If both players or pairs are in a wheelchair, the player or the pair score a point if:[7]

the opponent does not maintain a minimum contact with the seat or cushion(s), with the back of the thigh, when the ball is struck.
the opponent touches the table with either hand before striking the ball.
the opponent's footrest or foot touches the floor during play.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs must have at least two large wheels and one small wheel.[5] If the wheels on the player's wheelchair become dislodged and the wheelchair has no more than two wheels, then the rally must be stopped immediately and a point awarded to his or her opponent.

The height of one or maximum two cushions is limited to 15 cm in playing conditions with no other addition to the wheelchair. In team and class events, no part of the body above the knees may be attached to the chair as this could improve balance.
Equipment and playing conditions

A player may not normally wear any part of a tracksuit during play.[5] A player with a physical disability, either in a wheelchair or standing, may wear the trousers portion of a tracksuit during play, but jeans are not permitted.

Table legs shall be at least 40 cm from the end line of the table for wheelchair players.[8] In international competitions, the playing space is not less than 14m long, 7m wide and the flooring shall not be concrete. The space for wheelchair events may be reduced to 8m long and 6m wide. The flooring may be of concrete for wheelchair events, which is prohibited on other occasions.

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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2018, 10:03 
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Retriever wrote:
Iskandar,

Ghost serves are definitely not allowed in wheelchair table tennis. I think for a serve the ball has to leave the table via the end line, not either of the sidelines.

<googling and finding Wikipedia and copying here>

Service

If the receiver is in wheelchair, the service shall be a let under the following circumstances:[4]

After touching the receiver's court, the ball returns in the direction of the net.
The ball comes to rest on the receiver's court.
In singles, the ball leaves the receiver's court after touching it by either of its sidelines.


Well, that's definitely not true in the above game. You'll see the Korean player serving so that the ball drops within a couple inches of the net and then it bounces several times on the table before coming to a rest or rolling off the table. The German player had real trouble getting a racket on it at all. For this to work though, the Korean player had to aim the serve to land close to the side lines - if the landed closer to the middle the German player was able to reach it. Watch the ultra-extended third game... you'll see this serve again and again after deuce.

I wish I could serve like that. Given the level of play at Social Doubles I'll bet I'd score aces at least 50% of the time, especially if mixed with long fast serves. Those extreme-angle chop-blocks would be quite useful, too.

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PostPosted: 18 Nov 2018, 02:57 
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I think I've figured it out. Classes 1-5 are for players in wheelchairs. Class 1 are for those with the greatest degree of disability, while Class 5 players are essentially the same as the able-bodied, other than that they require a wheelchair to move around. Classes higher than 5 are for those who can play on their feet, I'm not sure how they're classified, other than, I suppose, Class 6 would be for those with the greatest degree of disability among players who can play standing up. That Egyptian guy who plays with the racket in his mouth is a Paraolympian, and has apparently won medals - I don't know what class he plays in. He lacks arms and serves by using his foot to project the ball upwards.

Below I post a Class 5 match - note that these players move around quite a bit - they can move their chairs around in a rally. They retrieve their own balls, while in Class 1 there were a couple of helpers retrieving the balls. These guys would actually beat a lot of 1900-2000 level players, I think. In the 1990s there was someone playing in Florida in a wheelchair who was rated over 2000. You wonder, since they're playing close to the table, how well short pips would work in this game.



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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2018, 01:59 
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Here's a couple of Class 6 matches. Apparently Class 6 is for players who can play on their feet but have the greatest degree of disability among those who do. I'm not sure how they decide who gets to play in each class. Here the two players seem to have mobility problems, one plays with a crutch. But their arms work normally as far as I can tell.



Now these two.. One of them is Ibrahim Hamadtou - the Egyptian player I mentioned earlier - he lost both arms as a child and plays with the racket in his mouth. Apparently ranked 55th in the world in this class. The other player is missing a lower arm and seems to have mobility issues (and is ranked 7th). I haven't had a chance to watch much of this yet, and will be looking forward to it.



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PostPosted: 30 Nov 2018, 01:47 
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I must admit.. Hamadtou can produce incredible shots holding the racket in his teeth! Lots of top-side or top-backspin.

Next video... Doubles! China vs. Egypt, Class 4-5. Interestingly, in wheelchair table tennis doubles, the players don't alternate shots.



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