Table Tennis: Sticking point

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THE English Table Tennis Association has told its women that they must compete at a disadvantage in tonight's European League match against the Netherlands at Grantham, in order to help pioneer a safety rule for the rest of the world, writes James Leigh.

The ETTA is so worried about the health dangers of glues attaching rubbers to bats that it has gone further than any other association and banned any bat that has been re-glued. Lisa Lomas, Katie Goodall and Nicola Deaton must comply with this, but the Dutch will play under a different set of rules.

The visitors should have a significant advantage of extra speed of the ball off the bat allowed by the International Table Tennis Federation rules, which list five glues as safe. England has now banned all 'fast' glues, and even glues considered to be both 'slow' and safe can no longer be used less than 48 hours before a match.

'Our players are 100 per cent behind this but hope the situation will change,' the England captain, Donald Parker, said. 'We have to lobby to get the ITTF to follow suit.'