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Tennis & Table Tennis

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Introduction

 Hearing disabilities should not prevent you from playing both Tennis & Table Tennis. There is a minor difference between the so-called main-stream Tennis & Table Tennis. The level of noise during the deaf sports and the main-stream match is huge. Both these sports are available at the Deaflympics and are played at social, club & Provincial level, as well as at International level. At the Deaflympics, the number of decibels is a main factor. The players involved in these sports should be able to encode up to 55decibels of sound.

Tennis

Even though having a hearing disabilities is not a major obstacle to playing Tennis, players often do lean heavily on their hearing to calibrate their timing, gauge levels of spin and power and feed off the support of the crowd, but this does not prevent hearing impaired from taking part in main-stream tennis.

An example of this is Lee Duck-hee, he was born on the 29th of May 1998 in Jecheon. He is a South Korean junior tennis player and has won 8 titles on the ITF Junior Circuit as a teenager, including Grade 2 tournaments in Nanjing and Sarawak. On the junior tour, Lee has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the ITF Junior Combined rankings.

Lee was born deaf. On the tennis court, he can hear vibrations, but communication with the umpires can be difficult, especially hearing the calls, so must rely on hand gestures to pick up line calls and umpire rulings.

Lee copes well, however, and said that, not hearing anything from the crowd makes life easier on court. “Actually I don't care about my disability at any time, and on the court it's easy to focus on my match because I can't hear anything,” he said. “So it's more convenient to play.”

Equipment & Rules

If you fancy a game of tennis, all you need is a racquet and some tennis balls! The size of courts, balls, and rackets are all  the same. There are 2 categories; Men, Ladies, and each category has singles and doubles tournaments. The rules can be found at: http://www.cis.umassd.edu/~hxu/alink/UICTennis/SimplifiedTennisRules.pdf

Major tournaments

There are a variety of tournaments held for Deaf tennis players around World, they include:

  • The Deaflympics
  • The Deaf Tennis Championships

The Deaflympics

The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. However, unlike the athletes in other IOC-sanctioned events (i.e., the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics), the Deaflympians cannot be guided by sounds (i.e., the starter's guns, bullhorn commands or referee whistles). The games have been organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS, "The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf") since the first event. Tennis is included in The Deaflympics.

To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their "better ear". Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed to be used in competition, to place all athletes on the same level. Other examples of ways the games vary from hearing competitions are the manner in which they are officiated. It is also customary for spectators not to cheer or clap, but rather to wave – usually with both hands.

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The Deaf Tennis Championships

The Deaf Tennis Championships is a new event for elite players. It is Sanctioned by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), the new World Championships enhances the existing calendar of major international deaf tennis events, which currently includes regional championships in Europe, AsiaPacific and the PanAmericas, as well as the Dresse and Maere Cups, the world team championships of deaf tennis. These regional championships and the Dresse and Maere Cups have traditionally been held on a different four year cycle to the Summer Deaflympics, which also features five tennis medal events.

As well as men’s and women’s events, the inaugural World Championships also feature a junior element as players can compete in the World Youth Championships.

Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using a small paddle. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one time on their side of the table, and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage.

 Hearing disabilities are no obstacle to playing Table Tennis. There is a minor difference between the so-called main-stream Table Tennis. The level of noise during the deaf sports and the main-stream match is huge. The number of decibels is also a main factor. The players involved in this sport should be able to encode up to 55decibels of sound. This sport is available at the Deaflympics and is also played at social, club & Provincial level, as well as at International level.

Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 220 member associations. The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook. Table tennis has been a Deaflympic sport since 1957 with several event categories.

Athletes from disability groups can take part. Athletes receive classifications between 1-11. Class 1-5 are for those in wheelchairs and class 6-10 for those who have disabilities that allow them to play standing. Within those groups the higher classification means the more function the athlete has. Class 11 is defined for players with an intellectual disability.

Major Tournaments

There are a variety of tournaments held for Deaf table tennis players around World, they include:

  • The Deaflympics
  • The World Deaf Table Tennis Championships

The Deaflympics

The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. However, unlike the athletes in other IOC-sanctioned events (i.e., the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics), the Deaflympians cannot be guided by sounds (i.e., the starter's guns, bullhorn commands or referee whistles). The games have been organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS, "The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf") since the first event. Table Tennis is included in The Deaflympics.

To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their "better ear". Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed to be used in competition, to place all athletes on the same level. Other examples of ways the games vary from hearing competitions are the manner in which they are officiated. It is also customary for spectators not to cheer or clap, but rather to wave – usually with both hands.

Read More: ...

The World Deaf Table Tennis Championships

The biggest event on the deaf table tennis calendar in 2016 is the World Deaf Table Tennis Championships.  This event is part of The Deaflympics and is scheduled to get underway on July 16 in Samsun, Turkey who is hosting a number of deaf sporting events around that time.  This includes the World Deaf Beach Volleyball Championships and World Deaf Martial Arts Championships which get underway on July 18.

Events

Table Tennis competitions comprise the following events:

Men

  • singles
  • doubles
  • team

Women

  • singles
  • doubles
  • team

Mixed

  • mixed doubles
  1. PARTICIPANTS

2.1. Age Eligibility
There are no age restrictions for Table Tennis competitions.

2.2. Number of Players
Each National Association may enter a maximum number of four (4) men and four (4) women for all events; one team for the team events, four players for the singles, two pairs for the men's and women's doubles, and four pairs for the mixed doubles.

South African Table Tennis

The South African Deaf Sports Federation (SADSF) currently promotes 10 sport codes, including Table Tennis. Most of these codes have their own structures and constitutions and are, as provided for in the SADSF Constitution, affiliated to the SADSF which is a National controlling body that facilitates the administration and coordination of each of these 10 Sport Codes to the highest level of excellence.

SADSF further has 9 constituted Provincial structures that are responsible for the identification and development of sporting talent for Deaf at grassroots level and also for the administering and coordination of sport for the Deaf at a Provincial level.
To find out more about the SADSF Click Here

Laws of table tennis

All players play according to the laws and regulations of the ITTF. The umpire may relax the requirements for a correct service if the compliance is prevented by physical disability.

The rules can be found at: http://www.ittf.com/ittf_handbook/2014/2014_EN_HBK_CHPT_2.pdf

Equipment and playing conditions

A player may not normally wear any part of a tracksuit during play. 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 Tennis equipment consists of :

  • A Ball
  • 1 bat per player
  • A Table with a Net

A player may not normally wear any part of a tracksuit during play.

Ball

The international rules specify that the game is played with a sphere having a mass of 2.7 grams (0.095 oz) and a diameter of 40 millimetres (1.57 in). The rules say that the ball shall bounce up 24–26 cm (9.4–10.2 in) when dropped from a height of 30.5 cm (12.0 in) onto a standard steel block thereby having a coefficient of restitution of 0.89 to 0.92. The ball is made of celluloid plastic as of 2015, colored white or orange, with a matte finish. The choice of ball color is made according to the table color and its surroundings. For example, a white ball is easier to see on a green or blue table than it is on a grey table. Manufacturers often indicate the quality of the ball with a star rating system, usually from one to three, three being the highest grade. As this system is not standard across manufacturers, the only way a ball may be used in official competition is upon ITTF approval  (the ITTF approval can be seen printed on the ball).

The 40 mm ball was introduced after the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Table

The table is 2.74 m (9.0 ft) long, 1.525 m (5.0 ft) wide, and 76 cm (2.5 ft) high with any continuous material so long as the table yields a uniform bounce of about 23 cm (9.1 in) when a standard ball is dropped onto it from a height of 30 cm (11.8 in), or about 77%. The table or playing surface is uniformly dark coloured and matte, divided into two halves by a net at 15.25 cm (6.0 in) in height. The ITTF approves only wooden tables or their derivates. Concrete tables with a steel net or a solid concrete partition are sometimes available in outside public spaces, such as parks.

Table legs shall be at least 40 cm from the end line of the table for wheelchair players. 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.

Paddle/Racket

Players are equipped with a laminated wooden racket covered with rubber on one or two sides depending on the grip of the player. The ITTF uses the term "racket", though "bat" is common in Britain, and "paddle" in the U.S.

The wooden portion of the racket, often referred to as the "blade", commonly features anywhere between one and seven plies of wood, though cork, glass fiber, carbon fiber, aluminum fiber, and Kevlar are sometimes used. According to the ITTF regulations, at least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood. The average size of the blade is about 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long and 15 centimetres (5.9 in) wide. Although the official restrictions only focus on the flatness and rigidness of the blade itself, these dimensions are optimal for most play styles.

Table tennis regulations allow different surfaces on each side of the racket. Various types of surfaces provide various levels of spin or speed, and in some cases they nullify spin. For example, a player may have a rubber that provides much spin on one side of their racket, and one that provides no spin on the other. By flipping the racket in play, different types of returns are possible. To help a player distinguish between the rubber used by his opposing player, international rules specify that one side must be red while the other side must be black. The player has the right to inspect his opponent's racket before a match to see the type of rubber used and what colour it is. Despite high speed play and rapid exchanges, a player can see clearly what side of the racket was used to hit the ball. Current rules state that, unless damaged in play, the racket cannot be exchanged for another racket at any time during a match.

References

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