Table Tennis: England come unstuck over glue problem

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND will play under one set of rules and the rest under another at next month's World Championships in Gothenburg, writes James Leigh.

The appeal by Donald Parker, England's manager, for his players to be allowed to use 'fast' glues sanctioned by the International Table Tennis Federation has been rejected by the English Table Tennis Association.

Parker had hoped to persuade the ETTA's national council to drop its crusading stance on toxic glues (for health reasons) just for the championships. Instead, the self-imposed handicap ends any hopes of a medal and could put England in danger of relegation from the top category.

This astonishing situation has occurred partly because the ETTA hoped the ITTF might by now have adopted its position of a total ban on all glues. Though this is still likely to happen later in the year, the ITTF has for the time being kept available a small list of glues which it claims are relatively safe and which competitors will be entitled to use in Gothenburg.

Some of these glues - used to stick rubbers to the blades of bats - are said to increase the speed of the ball by up to 20 per cent. Attacking players like Carl Prean, the English national champion, the former Commonwealth champion Alan Cooke and the former national champion Fiona Mommessin will now be at a disadvantage.