Table Tennis: Glue ban comes unstuck

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The Independent Online
The English Table Tennis Association, which stood alone against the rest of the world by insisting on a total ban on all glues, believing them to damage the health of thousands of young people, has changed its mind, writes James Leigh. In what may seem to some people to be a U-turn, the ETTA has agreed to fall in line with the position taken by the International Table Tennis Federation for most of the past two years, in allowing a limited number of glues to be used for attaching rubbers to the blades of bats.

The ETTA, however, would argue that it is only recognising developments, because manufacturers have increasingly produced water-based glues that are less dangerous, with a reduced chemical content.

The ETTA's statement yesterday said that "the latest adhesives approved by the ITTF are now acceptable."

Nevertheless, it may also be that the ETTA is only recognising the hard truth, which is that the rest of the world is never going to come round to its position.

Many of the country's leading attacking players and up-and-coming youngsters have been at a disadvantage for too long. They have sometimes had to compete against foreign players who can hit a quicker ball because they are using bats whose surfaces have been freshly glued.