Table Tennis events at the 2012 Olympic Games were played over July 28 – Aug 8 at the ExCeL London, with 172 athletes participating in the competition.
Table Tennis is played on a rectangular table that is 2.74m long, 1.53m wide and 0.76m high. A net 15.25cm high is stretched across the middle of the table and a white line divides the table in two lengthwise.
Players use their racquets to hit the ball back and forth across the table. The racquet is permitted to be any size, weight or shape, as long as it is flat, rigid and of even thickness. The rubber surface must be of an approved type. One side of the racquet must be red and the other side must be black.
A player earns points by making shots that his/her opponent cannot return. Players or teams alternate serves every two points. Games end when a player has scored 11 points, unless the margin is less than two points, in which case the play will continue with the serve alternating on every point until a two-point advantage is achieved. Singles matches are played over the best of seven games, while team matches consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, each played over the best of five games. Each team consists of three players and matches end when a team has won three individual games.
Service starts with the ball resting on the open palm of the server’s stationary free hand. The server throws the ball vertically upwards. As the ball is falling, the server strikes it so that it touches first his or her court and then, after passing over or around the net assembly, touches the receiver’s court. In doubles, the ball must touch the right half court of the server and the receiver.
Both the singles and team events at London 2012 were run in a knockout format. Players and teams progressed through the draw until the finals, where the winners of the gold medals were decided.