Table tennis: Size poses problem

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The World Table Tennis Championships have apparently grown too large, prompting strings of complaints from players and coaches about organisational problems.

The two-week long event, which ends in Manchester on Monday now has 6,000 matches, 175 hours play, 3,000 tons of equipment, and 90 practice or competition tables The championships have grown to 116 countries this year, 20 more than two years ago in China.

"The World Championships are too long for the players, too unattractive and financially risky for the organisers," said Jean-Michel Saive, the former world No 1 from Belgium, who is president of the professional players association, the CTTP.

The former world mixed doubles champion, Claude Bergeret of France, who heads the Athletes Commission of the ITTF - the world governing body of the sport - said poor scheduling and a lack of communication has made it difficult for players and coaches.

The United States team leader, Bob Fox, voiced complaints that have also come from France, England and Sweden. Fox said: "We sometimes have had no idea where or when we would be playing the next day. One morning we came in at nine and the players warmed up and then found they were not on until one o'clock.

"They could have been sleeping. This sort of thing completely disrupts their routine. When the team leader of Sweden says he doesn't know who they are playing either, there is a huge problem."