AGE of TECHNOLOGY: 1950s-1987

This era began when the Japanese became very successful using a thick sponge racket. Hiroji Satoh surprised most everyone when he won the World Singles title in 1952. Ichiro Ogimura won the Singles title in 1954 and 1956, while compatriot Toshiaki Tanaka won it in 1955 and 1957. The Japanese women were also very successful with this new weapon.
However, the thick sponge racket, which enabled much faster shots with difficult spins, created a major controversy, virtually splitting the Table Tennis world. Some countries banned the thick sponge racket, while most asian countries wanted to allow technology to influence the sport.
ITTF President Ivor Montagu negotiated a compromise, resulting in the now familiar sandwich racket, with a thin layer of sponge covered by pips out or pips in, and in 1959 the Racket Standardization laws were passed.

As players gained more experience with the new racket, many superstars emerged, including Ogimura (who introduced rigorous training methods and later became ITTF President), Zhuang Zedong (CHN), who won 3 consecutive World Singles titles, and the beginnings of a Swedish dynasty, with Kjell Johansson, Hans Alser and Stellan Bengtsson.
The loop shot, with exaggerated topspin became the major weapon, played with great physical effort. This caused the bitter end of the Classic era, and defense players nearly disappeared, with some notable exceptions.

Click on the player's name or photo to see a summary of their careers.

Maria Alexandru (ROU)

Hans Alser (SWE)

Stellan Bengtsson (SWE)

Biriba da Costa (BRA)

CAO Yanseng (CHN)

cai Zhenhua (CHN)

CHEN Longcan (CHN)

Zarko Dolinar (CRO)

Fujie Eguchi (JPN)

Tage Flisberg (SWE)

Naoko Fukazu (JPN)

Gabor Gergely (HUN)

GUO Yuehua (CHN)

Tibor Harangozo (YUG)

Vilim Harangozo (YUG)

Nobuhiko Hasegawa(JPN)

Ann Haydon (ENG)

HU Yulan (CHN)

Shigeo Ito (JPN)

JIANG Jialiang (CHN)

Kjell Johansson (SWE)

Istvan Jonyer (HUN)

Koji Kimura (JPN)

Eva Koczian (HUN)

Joszep Koczian (HUN)

Toshiko Kowada (JPN)

LI Furong (CHN)

LIN Huiqing (CHN)

Kimiyo Matsuzaki (JPN)

Dick Miles (USA)

Sachiko Morisawa (TCH)

Tomie Okawa (JPN)

Ichiro Ogimura (JPN)

Pak Yun Sung (PRK)

QIU Zhonghui (CHN)

RONG Guotuan (CHN)

Hiroji Satoh (JPN)

Eberhard Schöler (GER)

Masako Seki (JPN)

Antun Stipancic (CRO)

Dragutin Surbek (HRV)

Toshiaki Tanaka (JPN)

Leah Thall (USA)

Thelma Thall (USA)

Yoshio Tomita (JPN)

WANG Chuanyao (CHN)

XU Yinsheng (CHN)

Ella Zeller (TCH)

ZHANG Xielin (CHN)

ZHENG Minzhi (CHN)