Table Tennis: England landed in sticky situation: National council upholds glue ruling for World Championships

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ENGLAND has made a rod for its own back when it competes under its own set of rules in the World Championships which start here today - while every other participating nation uses another.

England has decided that its players shall not be allowed to use glues which once were employed to attach rubbers to the blade but which are now used and reused because when damp they increase the speed of the ball off the bat.

The rest of the world will be allowed to choose glues from a list supplied by the International Table Tennis Federation, which considers them sufficiently free from toxic substances for use during the next fortnight.

England disagrees. 'We are taking a stance on glue because the research on health safety indicates that many of them are dangerous,' said Alan Ransome, the chairman of the English Table Tennis Association.

However, he may be surprised by the decision of his national council to refuse the England manager, Donald Parker, special dispensation for his players to compete under international rules for one tournament. France and Scotland, with similar restrictions on glue, have done so.

'I can't disagree with the ETTA's attitude to dangerous glue, but I am disappointed we can't compete on equal terms with the world for just one event,' Parker said.

Sweden will be favourites to retain the men's team title, and China the women's. England's men, who might have been medal contenders, could find themselves battling against relegation. Bosnia-Herzegovina has included a team in the record line-up.

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