Table tennis first developed in the late 1800s as an indoor version of lawn tennis. More than a century later, the Olympic competition features singles and team events for men and women.

All singles matches are best-of-seven games. A game is won by the first player scoring 11 points. If both opponents reach 10 points then the game is won by the first player to gain a lead of two points. Through both seeding and preliminary rounds, players are placed into a single elimination tournament, eventually leading to the semifinal winners playing for gold and silver and the semifinal losers playing for bronze.

Canadian Mo Zhang eyes the ball while playing table tennis against Brerta Rodriguez of Chile during the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Teams of three players each participate in team matches which are called contests. Each contest is best-of-five matches, consisting of four singles matches and one doubles match. Each singles and doubles match within the team competition are best-of-five games. The team competition is also run as a single elimination tournament. The winners of the two semifinals advance to play for gold while the semifinal losers play for bronze.

A table tennis table stands 76cm above the floor and is nearly three metres long and a metre and a half wide. The net over which the ball must travel is just over 15cm high.

Mo Zhang at the Rio 2016 North American Olympic qualifier (Photo: Table Tennis Canada).

Mo Zhang at the Rio 2016 North American Olympic qualifier (Photo: Table Tennis Canada).

Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Rio 2016)

Although Canada has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis, a notable moment came from Johnny Huang at Atlanta 1996 where he placed fifth in the men’s singles, losing in the quarterfinals.