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Table Tennis Tips

A real low and short no-spin serve can give you some easy points in matches, as they are difficult to flip hard, and they require good timing to push hard. Mix it up with a heavy backspin in the same spot. Remember to get it short, the ball should bounce short on your side close to the net...

Speedglue, Boosters / Tuners discussions with Adham Sharara - ITTF President

Below is a summary of discussions (with questions and answers) between players (and forum members) and the President of the ITTF: Adham Sharara conducted on the OOAK table tennis forum. Further information and details can be found directly in the forum threads here.


Q (hookshot):
Banning VOCs was understandable to me. But, why ban the tuners that have no VOC.s? Or at least very low levels.
Why not set a lower limit to VOC's like is done on MSDS forms for chemicals, a limit deemed safe by the government?
The 4mm limit would make a barrier to excessive tuning. Only thin sponges could be tuned without going over the limit. It would be much easeir than making super sensitive equipment to detect microscopic amounts of VOC's that are not a real danger.
Your rules say NO stretching the top sheet. Must be as tested. Are not "Tensors" a way of streching the topsheet? If so, why can manufacturers do it and we can not? Will you ban tensors now causing a huge loss to manufacturers and players alike?
Please give a REASON for the frictionless ban. They were not dominating the world level. I did not use them. I enjoyed playing against them. One more facit to the game. Please,,,a REASON.
What happens at a 1 star or 2 star tourney now where they have no Enez? If some bats "click", now what? Some of the new "tensors" click. We cannot just ignore the ITTF rules. USATT rules are tied to them.

I would have suggested two tests to simplify things. If a bat passes the Enez and the rubber meets the 4mm rule, good to go. The Enez insures safety, the 4mm rule puts a limit on tuning.

A (Adham):
- VOCs were banned due to health reasons and dangers of misuse by children.
- Boosters and Tuners are not legal because they are "additives". It means that they are added to the racket covering after it has been approved and it alters the rubber, which is then different from when it has been approved. This is against the rules of the ITTF and specifically against rule 2.4.7. Perhaps boosters and tuners may contain low levels of VOC but they contain other harmful components. As a mater of fact all responsible TT manufacturers have stopped producing them after we sent them the lab analysis.
- Why banning low-friction pimpled rubbers? Several reasons. Just like we have a limit of thickness of 4mm which was put in effect to control the sudden increase in thickness of rubbers several years ago, it is important to set standards for the equipment used in our sport (like in any other sport). The national associations found it important to set a minimum friction level so as not to have total slippery rubbers that would be deemed, in their opinion, detrimental to the sport. After some research our Equipment Committee recommended the level of 25mN. Once this became a rule, voted upon by more than 90% of the delegates, the racket coverings were tested and those that did not meet the standard were not given the ITTF's authorization. This means they cannot be used in ITTF events.
- Regarding stretching of top sheet: Our rule explanation of the rule (Technical Leaflet No.4) says that a rubber presented by the manufacturer to seek authorization that is stretched to double its size and that reverts to its original size in a certain amount of time (not sure how many minutes) is accepted. So if it ios already stretched but meets the above criteria then it is OK and does receive the authorization. However, after it is authorized it can not be altered. This is why, you as a player cannot alter the rubber. This is the same in all sports.
- Regarding the lower levels events as you mentioned, of course they are not obliged to follow the ITTF rules. This decision is made by the National Association. Some national associations adopt the ITTF rules at all levels 100%, and some don't. In England for example they adopt the ITTF rules only for their national events and top league, the rest of the leagues decide themselves what they wish to do. The ITTF does not force any association to adopt its rules, but most do. So in the countries were ITTF rules are applied across the board, we expect that players respect the rule at that they are governed within the confines of the honour system.
- The current period September-December is a transition period. As of 1 January 2009 the ITTF will enforce its rules at the international level very strictly as follows:
- 4mm thickness across the blade
- flatness of the racket covering across the blade
- detect VOCs at very low levels
- detect presence of Boosters and Tuners or any other additive
- check for the top sheet being altered in any way
- glossiness
In my opinion we must give sufficient time and review the situation in a year or two.

Q (Kagin):
While i am in favor of the principle of removing toxic chemicals from the sport, in my opinion there is a widespread situation that must be taken care of as part of cleaning up the sport. The ITTF recommends airing out rubber for 72 hours prior to usage and testing to ensure that the the VOCs have escaped from the rubber. I verified this myself by using an enez to test a racket i had prepared without airing out the rubber; i left the plastic rubber protector on it up until the test was performed, and sure enough the racket tested positive, weeks after i had assembled the racket.

The problem i have here is not just the long lead time required to prepare a racket. In order to make a racket, i need to air out the rubber. Now, where am i going to air out the rubber? If i want the rubber to be VOC-free prior to use, i need to move all of the VOCs from the rubber into the air in my living room. Now the club and tournament facility are cleaner, but my home is contaminated. If i had a basement or garage i might leave it in there, but i live in an apartment, and i would prefer not to open the windows during the winter. In the past, my racket would remain sealed at home, and would only be in the open air during practice or competition, sparing my innocent cat or anyone who might be at my home.

I hope the ITTF will request or even demand that the manufacturers either stop using adhesives with VOCs during the assembly of sandwich rubber, or thoroughly air them out prior to packaging. Perhaps FIT would even make their own certification of rubber that's ready to use right out of the package.

A (Adham):
I am not a chemist, but perhaps the error you made is to leave the plastic shield on the rubber as that blocks the pores and traps the VOC into the rubber. Actually the manufacturers are asked to air the rubbers before packing, they are supposed to do it, but sometimes at the factory they do not do it. Our Equipment Committee made exactly 200 tests with 72 hours of airing, 100% of the rubbers passed the enex test. In fact even 48 hours should be enough if you have good ventilation (air movement). So, to answer your question about your apartment. Of course you are right. I would suggest to that you remove the packaging, remove the plastic shielded and then air the rubber in an area where you do have ventilation, or place it under an exhaust fan in the bathroom if you have one. You could also choose a room in which you but the rubber near a window and air them, then reheat that room.


Q (mynamenotbob):
If speed glue was never legal, the ITTF should brand all players who used it as cheaters and have their names stricken from the record.

Of course, the fact that the ITTF looked the other way for a quarter decade and allowed almost every world champion to use it is certainly an implied endorsement. If speed glue is banned because of health reasons, alternate methods should be allowed.

The game must evolve with the times.

A (Adham):
Speed Glue is a generic term used by many, but in fact there were several generations of the so-called speed glue. First, the glues used such as Tip-Top were highly toxic and even cancerous. These were used ofr some time because they were not known to the ITTF officials at that time. When the toxicity became apparent, the ITTF in 1993 tried to ban them completely. This did not work because of the lack of testing equipment and because if opposition from many national associations. Instead, a 2nd generation of glue was allowed, which could not contain the most toxic solvents (Tueolene, Hexane, etc.). These glues were tested and the ITTF approved those that did not contain those solvents. The testing method was using the Draeger Tube to detect specifically the 3 or 4 banned solvents. This was circa 1994. Since then the debate about toxic compounds and solvents in glue continued. Finally in 2004 the ITTF decided to ban all harmful volatile compounds (VCs). It took 4 years to finally implement the rule and reach a 3rd generation of water-based or VOC-free glues.

The ITTF's role is to make the rules and have methods to detect those that do not follow the rules. Unfortunately, manufacturers may not have taken this matter seriously enough because the implementation date was delayed twice (2006 delayed to 2007 and then delayed to 2008). So, I do not blame them or the players for not being ready with proper legal alternate glues. Now it seems that everyone is working hard to adapt to the new regulations. We will have a rough transition period, but I am optimistic that all will fall into place soon.


Q (mynamenotbob):
With all due respect, I would call the frictionless ban, speed glue ban and booster ban far more than minor adjustments. Those are major rule changes that have impacted many thousands of players in a negative way -- from the top pros to amateurs at all levels.

And what about the unnecessary changes in net height and in pip aspect ratio? Quite major I'd say.

It's certainly debatable whether all these bans "were necessary" and "have kept the sport alive" when so many have been hurt or wouldn't care either way.

As far as "the game evolving around the top players that play it" that's because the changes lopsidedly favor top-spinners. Innovations that have helped defensive players utilizing underspin as a weapon have been systematically legislated out of existence by ITTF rule changes.

A (Adham):
It is important to get facts right.
1. There is no such thing as "frictionless ban". There is a minimum friction level established and that was under consideration and discussion for many years, just as there is a maximum thickness rule. If a manufacturer wants to have the right to use the ITTF logo on its rubber, then the rubber must be within the norms and criteria established by the ITTF.
2. There is no such thing as "Speed Glue Ban". Wjta we have is a ban on harmful Volatile Compounds found in glue. Some solvents were already banned for many years, now we have banned ALL VOCs. This is inline with the IOC's Agenda 21 and with all similar bans on VOcs in industry. Did you know that players were not allowed to take their VOC glues with them on board an airplane, and those that did were contravening the law?
3. Tuners and Boosters were NEVER legal under any of the ITTF rules ever. The ITTF rule on the Racket is clear. But to make it clearer rule 2.4.7 was passed by the AGM. This reinforces the exisiting rule. No additives of any kind are allowed according to the ITTF rules. This is not new. It is just a question of enforcing an existing rule.
4. Net height. I believe that happened in the 1940s, since then the net has been the same height.
5. Pips aspect ration: this was changed in 1997 or 1998 I believe (before I was president for sure) and it was necessary for many technical reasons.

You may say it has impacted many thousands of players in a negative way, of course you are right. As I always said, some generation will be impacted in a negative way for any rule change. This is part f sport. The challenge is to adjust and carry on playing. It may take some longer and others could do it in a shorter time, but life goes on, we sincerely believe the changes are for the good of the game and if we are proven wrong in the long run, then we can be replaced and let others lead. In the meantime let's give it time and see what happens, just like the 40mm and 11-points, your patience will be much appreciated and make the adjustment to your new equipment a new challenge.

Q (haggisv):
Since the ITTF only approves topsheets, how can the manufacturer submit a topsheet under tension (which is how it's used when attached to the sponge)? Tension in a topsheet can only be maintained by attaching it to something such a sponge...

Since manufacturers and distributors only became aware that booster/tuners were deemed illegal by the ITTF recently (in the last 6 months), and even then it was not announced officially, many may still have huge stock levels. You can hardly blame them for trying to sell off some of their stock, to recover some costs... calling that despicable seems rather strong to me...

A (Adham):
The rubber specifications that the ITTF approves includes a stretch test. This is clear in the Technical Leaflet (T-4). So the manufacturer can stretch the rubber within the limits and then attach it to the sponge. This is OK, because the rubber authorized meets the stretch limitations. Once the manufacturer has fixed it to the sponge, then no further alterations are allowed. By the way, the manufacturer could also use VOC-containing glue to fix the rubber to the sponge, but then they must ensure that they get rid of the VOC before packaging (airing and ventilators)

Boosters and Tuners have NEVER been legal. The manufacturers know the rules very well. The rule on the Racket (2.4) is very clear. The composition of the racket is clearly written in black and white, it clearly states of what the racket is made, and their is no mention of any additives. The excuse was that the rule does not state what you CANNOT include in the racket; so the ITTF passed a clarification to avoid any doubt in the form of item 2.4.7 of the rules. Now, why the word "despicable"? This is a very measured word. It is targeted to those manufacturers that said that they have stopped producing Boosters and Tuners after the ITTF sent them the lab analysis of their product clearly showing the composition of their product containing VOCs and poison. They immediately reacted by abiding by ITTF rules and fully agreeing to the ITTF actions. But secretly, in a "despicable" manner provide some types of additives to their sponsored players promising that they would not be detected. We have now issued a stern warning.

I hope this answers your questions. I believe that Boosters and Tuners that are still in stock will be peddled to the players that do not play in ITTF events and in those countries where there is a lack of racket control. But in my opinion these are products that will soon disappear as manufacturers start producing better performing racket coverings. Boosters and Tuners were a quick fix, and you are right, the ITTF reacted too slowly, naively believing that its existing rule was clear enough, which it is. But unfortunately we discovered that we needed a further rule (2..4.7) to be able to maintain the integrity of the original rule (2.4). We are also bound by the fact that we have only one AGM per year at ahich such rules are made or modified. It used to be BGM (once every two years), then the reaction would have been even slower.


Q (RebornTTEvnglist):
Where do people who buy separate topsheets and sponges fit into this? Many people like to experiment with different sponges and rubbers to see what suits them better. So they will get a topsheet, glue it to a sponge, try it, remove it, glue to another sponge, etc. Does this mean this practice is now illegal?

A (Adham):
No, not at all. They just have to glue the rubber as it is and not stretch it further or alter it in any way. You can un-glue and re-glue to your heart's content, just air the stuff thoroughly to get rid of any manufacturers still lingering VOCs.


Q (Juan King Carlos):
I just wondered Adham, how the ITTF will control the use of boosters by manufacturers in sponges? If a sponge comes from a manufacturer containing a booster, is it not still just a different sponge containing extra chemicals? Do sponges have to be made from certain materials? Or do you have a list of chemicals which should not be found in sponges?

A (Adham):
The manufacturers receive the details of what material is allowed and the directives regarding the composition of materials. The rubber sheet is sent to the ITTF for testing at one of our certified labs. If it meets all conditions, then the ITTF gives the authorization to use the ITTF logo on the sheet. Normally, this is when the process ends. Regarding the sponge, we do not approve sponge nor do we authorize it, however, the ITTF has directives for that as well that the manufacturers follow. Now, if the manufacturer adds other components to the process this is not allowed. We take at random new equipment from the market place and test it. If it meets the requirement as it did the first time, no problem; if it does not, it means that the manufacturer did not follow the ITTF's directives and then there is a problem.

Manufacturers still use VOC-containing glue as allowable by labour regulations in their own country (small quantities, ventilation standards, etc.) but as long as they air and ventilate properly, when the rubber is packaged then it should be OK. But still some VOC gets trapped so players need to air the rubber sheet after unpacking.

If a player wants to cheat and use anything they want, outside ITTF events, they will and probably no one will catch them. If they are OK living knowing they are a cheater, that's their own problem. I believe that over time the great majority will be within the rules and the established parameters.


Q (haggisv):
I'm sorry to keep questioning this, but I'm still unconvinced of the explanation...

1. Lets assume we have a VOC-free poison-free booster. The factory glues an ITTF approved topsheet onto a sponge. Now the factory uses a booster on the SPONGE ONLY. Now according to all evidence I've seen, the ONLY effect that the booster has on the TOPSHEET is that it stretches it, which according to you is legal when done in the factory (within ITTF set limits). Sponges are already made with the use of chemical, and are also glued to the topsheet using VOC-based chemical, so the booster is simply part of this factory process. The rubber is aired properly before sold to the public. Legal rubber or not?

2. Lets assume we have a VOC-free poison-free booster. The factory uses a booster on the sponge, BEFORE it's glued onto an ITTF approved topsheet. The rubber is aired properly before sold to the public. Legal rubber or not?

3. A distributor buys a cheap ITTF approved topsheet and a sponge, and applies either on the the methods (1. or 2.) above. This turns a cheap chinese topsheet and sponge combination into a rubber of similar performance to the top-end Tensor style rubber. The rubber is aired properly before sold to the public. Legal or not?

4. A player buys a cheap topsheet and sponge, and applies either on the the methods (1. or 2.) above. This turns his cheap chinese topsheet and sponge combination into a rubber of similar performance to the top-end Tensor style rubber. Legal or not?

Please understand I have no problem in accepting your speed glue ban, for health reasons. I also would have no problem in accepting the booster/tuner ban if you gave us a reason why, since the health issue is not proven.

If you said it was in order to slow the game down, I would accept that as a valid reason, even if I didn't agree with it...
The bit I'm not happy with is that the ITTF trying to justify the banning of tuners/booster, by saying that they are already against existing rules... this is a means of banning them, not a reason... I hope you can see the difference...

A (Adham):
In order to answer your 4 scenarios, first I will explain clearly the rule:
- Any post-factory alteration of the equipment (in this case racket covering) is NOT legal. By post-factory, we mean at the distributor level, at the retail level, at the player level, at the reseller level, etc.
- VOC-containing glues are used at the factory level for several applications (gluing the rubber to the sponge, gluing the wood plies to make the racket, etc.). The factory must follow the rules of their government as it relates to VOCs (very strict in Japan, Canada, Germany,etc, but rather lax in China, India, Russia, etc.). In any case, the ITTF advices the factories to air and ventilate the equipment (rackets and racket coverings in this case) using special ventilated racks, which usually eliminate all VOCs (or almost all).
So now, you could answer your questions yourself:

1. Legal (at factory, no VOCs, no poison, properly aired, stretched within limits).
2. Legal (same as above, if I understood correctly)
3. Post factory, not legal
4. Post factory, not legal

The above is according to the current rules (if I understood the scenarios correctly).

I understand your position about VOC-glues. Regarding the so-called vegetable-based tuners and boosters that are free of VOC and poison, I really do not see any harm in accepting them. But what I keep repeating is that according to our current rules they are "illegal" because they alter the racket covering. This is NOT according to our rules and never was. Rule 2.4 is clear about the composition of the racket, but since some felt it was not clear enough, rule 2.4.7 was proposed by those that sought further clarity. This makes any type of additive, whether healthy or not, illegal. Now let's talk practically. Is it detectable? Probably not, unless it makes the rubber bulge too much and exceeds 4mm, or if it makes the rubber bulge and the surface is not flat. So as you can see it may cause 2 infractions to the current rules. I anticipate your next question: suppose I use VOC-free, non-poisonous, vegetable based substance on the sponge, and the total thickness of the racket covering does not exceed 4mm, and the surface is flat, is it legal or illegal? The answer is it is still illegal because you are not supposed to have any additives according to 2.4 (not part of the composition of the racket) post-factory, but would be totally acceptable, because no apparent rule would be violated. In fact, this could be the future direction, but the question is, would you still have the same effect? Less than 4mm thick, surface flat (no bulge or dome), would there be any reason to do this?

Please believe that the rules are not purposely intended to slow down the game. The speed of the game depends on the players. Sure, a side effect of the 40mm ball and the VOC-free glue, and the booster and tuner ban does make the game slower. But speed is not really the issue. You could get more speed by making the blades faster to compensate in the loss of speed. In fact, my recommendation to the top players and to the manufacturers is to always look at the racket as a whole: blade wood type, blade weight, blade distribution of weight, sponge type and thickness and rubber type. The sum of the total combination of all those elements is what should give the player the amount of speed he/she desires, the amount of friction (spin) they desire, and the amount of "feel" they desire.


Q (Laurent Bérenger):
I'm Laurent Bérenger, I produced boosters for many brands and members of FIT.

The ITTF seems to be in war against boosters an other chemical stuff. From my knowledge, and you confirmed it (point 1 of your answer), there is no rule against placing a sponge if this sponge, boosted or not, doesn't modify the characteristics of the topsheet.

but I'm surprised by your answer "post factory". According to my knowledge, once again, I don't see any rule witch prohibit a player removing sponge from the topsheet and past this original and not modified topsheet with another or with the same sponge (boosted or not).

Also, when topsheet and sponge are selling separately, is there any rule witch prohibit to boost the sponge before gluing it on the approved and not modified topsheet?

These last 2 cases, the topsheet keeps originals characteristics (nb of pimples by cm² , thickness, elasticity, pimple size, logo size and so on...)

The ITTF shouldn't be on war against boosters because not illegal if palyers or manufacturers respect differents steps for, finally have the same topsheet as approved.

Anybody can use a car if he doesn't drive too quick. Anybody can use a booster if he doens't modify the topsheet.

A (Adham):
Thanks for your post. First, the ITTF is not at war about anything. But before I answer your question, please answer me one question so that I better understand: "If the booster has no effect on the top sheet, then why use a booster at all?"

I also suggest that you read carefully the section of ITTF rules regarding the Racket (2.4). The composition of the racket is very clear. There is no allowance for any additives. Boosters would be considered an additive, by the current rules.


Q (Laurent Bérenger):
A booster has an effect on the sponge of course... We can get better effect when a booster is used on a complete rubber because it stretch the topsheet too (illegal), but a streched sponge (alone) gives more "speed"... I guess you know that the same topsheet on different sponge gives differents results...

Second on the handbook ( ITTF explains that a racket covering is a layer of a rubber and cellular rubber (summary). But what is a rubber?? The technical leaflet ( gives thes definitions as "any any material that can be stretched at room temperature to twice its original length, and that, after being held in the stretched state for one minute, retracts within one further minute to less than 1.5 times its original length."

so the sponge could be any material (booster included) if the final result can be stretched at room temperature to twice its original length, and that, after being held in the stretched state for one minute, retracts within one further minute to less than 1.5 times its original length....

Also, you told me that you don't allow any additive. Why did you confirlmed that manufacturers can do it? Remember:

haggisv wrote:
1. Lets assume we have a VOC-free poison-free booster. The factory glues an ITTF approved topsheet onto a sponge. Now the factory uses a booster on the SPONGE ONLY. Now according to all evidence I've seen, the ONLY effect that the booster has on the TOPSHEET is that it stretches it, which according to you is legal when done in the factory (within ITTF set limits). Sponges are already made with the use of chemical, and are also glued to the topsheet using VOC-based chemical, so the booster is simply part of this factory process. The rubber is aired properly before sold to the public. Legal rubber or not?

2. Lets assume we have a VOC-free poison-free booster. The factory uses a booster on the sponge, BEFORE it's glued onto an ITTF approved topsheet. The rubber is aired properly before sold to the public. Legal rubber or not?

And you answered:
1. Legal (at factory, no VOCs, no poison, properly aired, stretched within limits).
2. Legal (same as above, if I understood correctly)

you just justify that a players can remove the sponge from the topsheet to do it because of "post factory". Witch law prohibit that and talk about "post factory"?

So once again witch law prohibit somebody to remove the sponge from the topsheet, tune the sponge with any material if this material is still or become cellular rubber as described on the technical leaflet and handbook an re-glue on the topsheet witch is exactly as approved?

A (Adham):
Your question was very clear and my answer was very clear. "Additive" means to "ADD". Post factory this is illegal. At the factory, if the process of making the sponge follows the ITTF directives and the actual sponge leaves the factory free of VOCs, free of any poison, and the sponge itself will not alter the characteristics of any other component of the racket, and only the components as listed in 2.4 exist, then it would be OK. Anything else is not legal. This is very clear and according to our current rules. In fact, you should read "post-factory" as "post-production". This also applies to VOCs.


Q (Laurent Bérenger):
In fact my question was clear but you didn't answer... Additive on the factory step is legal because the sponge leaves the factory VOC free (so why advice aring the rubber for 72 hours??), free of poison (don't see any rule about it but I agree), and because the sponge itsel doesn't modify the top sheet and made by components listed on 2.4 (and because a rubber is any material with an minimum of elasticity, it is more difficult to break this law than follow it). OK! I get it!

But my question was: witch rule prohibits doing it post-production?? I really don't see it.. Please let me know witch chapter on the hanbook allows manufacturers to do it and prohibits it after the production step.

Also, topsheet can be sold alone. Witch rule prohibits to apply a cellular material boosted and VOC free??

A (Adham):
Ok, I understand your question. The answer is rule 2.4. I actually answered this question already in detail in a previous post. I will just summarize here:

1. At factory level: The factory can do what it wants to produce the equipment, as long as when they are done, the equipment is according to ITTF rules. The production regulations are according to the rules for factories in that country. At the end of the production, and when ready to leave the factory, the equipment (in this case a racket covering) must be composed of only the elements and components that are listed in item 2.4 of the TT Laws. So if during the production VOC was used, as long as at the end of the production there is no more VOC, then it's OK. This applies to any other element during production. This is what we mean that it is OK during production, as long as when it leaves the factory it meets ITTF rules. This is why the ITTF makes tests on equipment we take from the general market. The glue (adhesive) is allowed according to our rule. We ask the factories to air the racket coverings after gluing the two parts together for at least 72 hours before packing. Some VOCs are still trapped, so we advise the players as well to air the racket covering before using to make absolutely sure that no VOCs are present.

2. At post-factory level (player, distributor, reseller, etc.): Any alteration (other than wear and tear) of the racket covering is illegal. Any additive (booster, tuner, oil, etc.) is illegal. This is Rule 2.4 (composition of the racket). Any action that alters the characteristics of the equipment after approval is illegal (rule 2.4.7).

These are the facts according to our current rule. If one day the rule is changed, then the process will also change. What is illegal today may become legal tomorrow and vice-versa.


Q (Laurent Bérenger):
Regarding your point 2 it is ok, I get it.

For the point 2:

a. You didn't give me the rule witch allow a factory to apply there own boosted sponge and not the player (even if topsheet is sold separatelly).

b. rule 2.4, composition of the racket. A rubber is any material with minimum of elasticity (technical leaflet about rubbers). So boosted or not with or without additive, physical stretching, Christmas lights, or tattoo “I love my mother” whatever the is composition If this final single material is elastic enough, it is a rubber (rubber technical leaflet)

c. point 2.4.7: the final result on the topsheet (at the production or after the production is the same...) is the same topsheet (same nb of pimples by cm², same size of logo, pimples, same distance between each pimles, same tack, elasticity, gloss, thickness...)

For me it is clear, all your rules approve any boosting of the sponge if it doesn't effect the charchteristics of the topsheet... Why not approve a complete racket covering??

I'm sorry again but I have to react an explain from the producer side.

At first, VOC free for ITTF was a vapour pressure even or above 0,3 mbar (temperature??). The equipment comitte was surprised that the pressure change with the temperature... Finally the temperature it and produced boosters with a vapour pressure under 0,3 mbar.

Zagreb 2007, no approval anymore and e-Nez is the judge... Some boosters had problem with it and I produced under the limit...

In 2005 I had a correspondance with Mr Lineros to explain him that the prohibition of VOC is not the prohibition of dangerous compounds. If product is not volatile you avoid the risk by inhalation, but VOC can be dangerous for skins, eyes, dangerous by inhalation... I offerd him to prohibit dangerous compounds, you can obtain a list or information on the webside of the World Health Organization... But ITTF was focused on VOC with no resluts (VOC free can contain dangerous compounds, new rule in Guangzhou to avoid boosters...)

Also I don't see, any rules about "poison"...

Last thing, let me explain why, water based glue is a VOC but doesn't contain VOC... Let's see the composition:

- water (Volatile compound)
- tacking, sticking resin (Oraganic compounds, solid so not volatile)
- thickness resin (Organic compound)

Water during the evaporation step, will bring part organic compounds in the air...

You can check it with RAE device... e-Nez doens't react with each product separated but if you shake it to produce the water-based glue, this glue react...

Why this glue doesn't gives VOC on a racket? the difference with "usual" table tennis solvent is the water based glue is rejected by the sponge and doesn't penetrate into the cellular rubber, so after the drying time, the is no voc anymore... But sponge drinks teh usual solvent and keeps it as long as it can...

A (Adham): - not answered

Q (RebornTTEvnglist):
I'm sorry, I've been reading the story as it goes with Berenger and I still can't see where you have answered how that boosting a sponge on its own and then attaching a topsheet is illegal. I get that putting booster on a topsheet, or on a sponge with topsheet attached, is illegal. If the booster is VOC-free though, regardless of what its level of benefit to the sponge, where do the rules state this is illegal?

A (Adham):
Rule 2.4 specifies the composition of a racket as follows:
2.4.2 The blade
2.4.3,, The rubber, the sponge and the adhesive

Nothing else is allowed to be part of the racket other than what is indicated in Rule 2.4: the blade, the sponge, the rubber and the adhesive. Therefore any other item or component "added" to the above specifications is not allowed and is considered an "additive". So, to be more specific, boosting a sponge is actually applying an additive to the sponge. I do not see anywhere in Rule 2.4 this possibility. This is the current rule and the current interpretation.

Frankly, I do not see the advantage of boosting the sponge, then let it set, ensure that the surface is flat (assuming of course that it is VOC free) and then gluing it to a rubber. How will the boosted sponge provide the boosting effect unless it affects the rubber? which of course would then be illegal because it would alter the rubber. I just do not see the advantage of doing that.

Now, maybe the underlying question is "will it be detected?". Probably not if the racket surface is flat, the racket covering thickness is even over the entire racket surface and not more than 4mm, no dome effect, no stretching, etc., then will probably not be detected and also probably zero effect or advantage. So what is the purpose? Just to sell to a player a placebo effect?

In my opinion the manufacturers should spend their time and energy in producing ready made racket coverings, at reasonable prices, that the players can use and feel a similar effect as with the old speed-glue. This could be achieved with a clever balance and combination of new blades, new sponge, and new rubbers. Some manufacturers are already on the right track. It is just a matter of time, and more importantly, a matter of necessity.

Perhaps in the future the rule may change and non-toxic components may be added to the composition of the racket or part of the racket. I don't know? But I would not expect such a change any time soon. But I could be wrong.


Q (Speedplay):
About the sponge boosting, I can really only see one reason why it is not allowed to attach a home boosted sponge to a top sheet, cause then everyone would boost and then claim they only boosted the sponge.

I think it is strange that there are different rules for the factories, why can they treat rubbers while we can't? I know, you have answered it but according to me, there boosting changes the rubber as much as my own boosting. The difference is, when they do it for me, they double the price of the rubber, if I do it at home, it's only a fraction more expensive then not boosting it.

A (Adham):
I agree with you on the cost issue, but I think the logic is that if a manaufacturer wants to produce a certain specification of sandwich rubber product, its his business to do this within the ITTF regulations he must abide by, so long as he makes effort to take VOC's out before packaging it. In this process there is a fair degree of control as the manufacturers process must follow ITTF rules and will/should be consistent.

Players doing their own boosting come under no process control at all by the ITTF, and what they do will never be consistent across the millions there are.


Summary (Adham):
Dear friends,

- VOC ban
- Boosters, tuners and additives illegality
- Minimum friction level of 25mN

I will provide one last time a short summary on the above and then I will ask the Forum Administrator to close this thread, and I will open a new thread in which I could answer questions about any subject except the above three listed subjects.

VOC ban
- The ban on VOC-containing substances was proposed by Japan to the ITTF’s Board of Directors (BoD) in March 2004. It was passed with a great majority with an implementation date of 1 September 2006
- The implementation date was postponed twice by the BoD to 1 September 2007 and finally to 1 January 2008 for all ITTF Junior events and 1 September 2008 for all ITTF events.

- According to rule 2.4 “The Racket” all additives are illegal. Only the components of the racket as listed in rule 2.4 of the Laws of Table Tennis are legal. Although this rule was very clear, it was felt that it needed to be made even clearer.
- At the 2006 Annual General meeting of the ITTF (AGM) the rule was clarified further and rule 2.4.7 was passed with more than 90% acceptance.
- Rule 2.4.7 forbids altering the racket covering in any way after it has been approved. This “explicitly” prohibits any substance that will alter the shape, size, thickness or characteristic of the racket covering after approval (post factory treatment)



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