Game similar to lawn tennis that is played on a tabletop with wooden paddles and a small, hollow, plastic ball. The object is to hit the ball so that it goes over the net and bounces on the opponent's half of the table in such a way as to defeat the opponent's attempt to reach and return it. Both singles and doubles games are played. A match consists of the best of any odd number of games, each game being won by the player or team who first reaches 11 points or who, after 10 points each, gains a two-point lead. Invented in England in the early 20th century, it soon spread throughout the world. Since the mid-1950s, East Asian countries have dominated the sport. It has been an Olympic sport for both men and women since 1988.
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