Boll's 'doping' allegation false: ITTF

BEIJING • International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) president Thomas Weikert has refuted fellow German Timo Boll's accusations that most players are "doping" their rubbers in competitions.

"The ITTF has comprehensive racket-testing procedures to ensure that everyone is on a level playing field," Weikert said.

"Timo is allowed to have an opinion on this issue, but I am confident that our testing procedures are doing the job to prevent boosting."

Former world No. 1 Boll told German media earlier this month that ping-pong players are using illegal methods to improve their game.

The ITTF rules mandate the covering material on rackets should be used as it has been authorised by the ITTF - "without any physical, chemical or other treatment, changing or modifying playing properties, friction, outlook, colour, structure, surface, etc."

"About 80 per cent of the international players are playing with rackets which do not conform to the rules of the ITTF," Boll told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

"The rubbers are treated with chemicals to increase the catapult effect when hitting. This applies not only for the Chinese players, but for Europeans and other Asians too.

"In order to prove this, the rubber has to be removed from the racket and sent to the lab. That's what I've been encouraging since long ago. But the ITTF considers this unreasonable."

The two-time World Cup winner did not specify what is being applied to the rubbers but it is likely to be a type of glue.

In September 2008, speed glue was banned by the ITTF.

Paddlers used to apply speed glue to their racket and rubber before training and competitions. The application of speed glue helped to stretch the rubber, creating tension and resulting in a springy effect. As such, their shots would have more spin and power.

Boll, who has featured in the China Table Tennis Super League for numerous seasons, added that he noticed a player using an illegal racket. The 34-year-old also accused the Chinese of gaining "an advantage by using illegal rubbers".

Weikert disagreed.

"Since many years, the Chinese players are the best in the world, due to their very hard work under the eyes of many very well-educated coaches and the search for new talents who could be successful," he said.

Boll is set to lead Germany's men's team at the World Team Table Tennis Championships to be held in Kuala Lumpur from tomorrow to next Sunday.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2016, with the headline 'Boll's 'doping' allegation false: ITTF'. Print Edition | Subscribe