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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2019, 14:55 
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Weren't Japan on top sometime in the 1960s? Or wait...

No surprise, there's information on Wikipedia.. :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_W ... _medalists

Apparently the first World Champs was in 1926. For the first decade, it looks like the Hungarians ruled supreme. Victor Barna alone took five gold medals and one silver. Same was true of the women, and men's teams. The women's teams was more diverse - mainly the Germans and Czechs. Immediately post war, there was a half decade where the English dominated the men's - Johnny Leach and Bergmann (who played for Austria before the war) alternating for the gold medal. The men's teams was dominated by the Czechs and Hungarians during this period, with the Hungarians dominating the women's singles and the women's teams were shared between England and Romania.

And then came 1952 - the Year of The Sponge. That year Satoh took the men's gold medal. AND the Japanese women's team took the gold. The 1950s (up to 1957) were the decade of Japanese domination for men's singles - Sido (Hungary) took 1953 but for the next four WC Ogimura and Tanaka alternated to take gold. In the 1956 Tokyo WC, the Japanese took all four men's medals. There was no individual WC in 1958 - this is when they started alternating with the teams WC every other year. For the women? For the individual WC, the early 1950s was dominated by the Romanians, and the Japanese women had a long run from 1956 to 1969 (China won in 1961). The women's teams was more varied, with Romania and Japan trading places over the first part of the 1950s, and then Japan dominating until 1965 when the Chinese won (Japan also took 1967 and 1961).

Chinese domination for the men's started in 1959 - four golds in a row, and then Hasegawa and Itoh took 1967 and 1969 (these might have also been Chinese victories if not for the Cultural Revolution). Bengtsson took 1971, Jonyer 1975, Kohno and Ono in 1977 and 1979. Xi Enting took 1975. I'd say 1981 was the beginning of really strong Chinese domination - out of 20 individual WCs, the Chinese took 15. Since 1995, only Waldner (1997) and Schlager (2003) were the only non-Chinese gold medalists. Since 2005 they've won every single individual WC. The men's teams were very similar in pattern - it began in 1961. For the women it began in 1971 - 22 out of 25 gold medals. The women's teams? They won first in 1965, and then they had an almost unbroken string of wins from 1975 on.

To put this into context of what most people here are interested in.. Equipment. :lol: Sponge made its first successful appearance at the WC in 1952 (Satoh). But there was no rules change involved - back then, you could use ANYTHING YOU WANTED as a playing surface on a bat - sandpaper, cloth, even a strung bat (though everyone figured out very early these wouldn't work, of course..). Satoh's bat had 5/16" bare yellow sponge, it was a typical rectangular Japanese Penhold racket made by Armstrong. He was the only one on the Japanese team using sponge, everyone else used (what we call today) OX pips out. But this apparently got the attention of racket manufacturers.. a lot of them started selling sponge rackets. Most were thick, bare sponge, and there was a lot of variety. People started bringing these to tournaments. Some tournaments banned them, it was quite a contentious time, and for someone interested in what people played with, a fascinating time. The actual rules that mandated the rubbers we use today (four options - bare wood, hard rubber - i.e. OX pips, 4mm max "sandwich" - i.e. pips with sponge and 4mm max "inverted sandwich") were passed in 1959, and were probably not in effect for the 1959 WC (though they were for the 1961 games and 1960 teams).

So one wonders - what were Ogimura and Tanaka using? What did Rong Guotan (who won in 1959) use? Was he a pips-out hitter, and if he was, did he use hard rubber? When did the Chinese pips-out hitter style develop? Zhuang Zedong ("Chuang Tse-tung") and Li Furong were most certainly pips-out hitters, what about Xi Enting (1973)? Guo Yuehua wasn't - he used that purple-red inverted Friendship that started showing up in the US about that time, though he did hit.

The first Chinese man to win the WC was Rong Guotuan (Jung Kuo-tuan). Pretty sad - he got "purged" during the Cultural Revolution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rong_Guotuan

Probably the only footage of him playing (6:25):



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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2019, 18:27 
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September of 1972 is the uprise of China eternal glory.



It all happened in the year 1972, when China Rubber Research Institute Tianjin succeeded in making a rubber material of new generation with enormous grippy power. It was not untill the mid 80's that 729 rubbers were seen somewhere on market. The product was exclusively supplied to China Training Camps.

Actually, American chemist Dr. Fisher was the first to develope some thermo-vulcanizates tacky like a gum, back in 1935.

Butterfly Tamasu Co© in 1978 came out with their own stickysheets of TackinessC, TackinessD and thus terminated prolonged China monopoly on the sticky rubber materials.


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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2019, 19:49 
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I suppose those are those among us who believe that rubber is the root of all success in table tennis... that the Chinese started winning when their scientists devised a superior rubber :lol: Makes you wonder what Xi Enting was using when he earned a bronze medal in 1971. Or what Rong Guotuan was using in 1959, or Zhuang Zedong, Li Furong, Zhang Xielin etc. were using in 1961, 1963 and 1965. China swept ALL the men's medals except for one bronze those three years. (And then Mao Zedong just had to intervene with the Cultural Revolution... )

Besides, 729 tacky rubber was inverted, the Chinese didn't use inverted, they used pips out. It couldn't have been THE SECRET of their success. At least until Guo Yuehua came along.

If anyone's curious about what "729" means... or "802", or "755" or "799" - it's explained in that video. The year and month those rubbers were invented (or maybe when they started selling them). So 729 came out in September 1972, 802 came out in February 1980, etc. etc. Makes you wonder about 563, though - that would pre-date the ITTF rubber rules. And it would have been four years after Satoh won the WC using sponge. Maybe it was China's original hard rubber (used without sponge). As I recall 804 is anti - isn't that Cai Zhenhua in the video at that point??? Probably what he was using.

Looks like a slick promo video... they want to project the image of a modern, advanced research facility and factory and a well-connected company, what with shots of supercomputer racks, Xi Jinping and the People's Congress (I wish there were English subtitles) but the fact of the matter is that innovation in rubbers and other equipment (at least, at the National Team level) seems to have to moved down the road to Shanghai (DHS), and it did so a long, long time ago. Are there any notable players playing with 729 stuff? Certainly not any of those people in the video's opening photo. Doesn't mean it isn't any good, especially for us hobbyists.

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