Table tennis in Italy began after the second world war inside of Italian tennis federation.
In 1960 it changes his name in “FITeT” (Italian Table Tennis Federation) and in 1979 CONI (Italian National Olynpic Committee) recognizes FITeT as a proper sport federation.
Our sport is paradox is to be extremely famous and wellknown all over Italy but players registered to federation are a very low number (around 10000) compared to France and Germany or other european nations (250000 France and 800000 Germany) and of course asian countries!
There are many reasons why there’s such a hunge difference between numbers of table tennis players and people who simply like to play for fun here in Italy: very few sport centres specific for table tennis, few professional table tennis coach and low interest among sponsors to invest in our sport but I mainly believe the reason is how people who don’t play consider our sport like a hobby or something totally different than reality.
As a recreative activity ping pong can be played everywhere, in and outdoor and historically in Italy it was played in parish, specific structures who normally were next to the churces where young kids could spend time with time playing games mainly after praying in church and this probably helped in popularity but not for sure in professionality.
During ’80 first professional trainers caming from China or Ex- Jugoslavia came to Italy, called directly by italian federation to rise level of our best players and coaches.
This experiment was half successfull and at the beginning of ’90 first federation academies were created, where players and coaches were living all year long practicing 5-6 hours a day everyday: Fiuggi is the main table tennis center plus Terni, Genova and Messina and apart these main national center some other regionals were created with day-training system of playing just in the afternoon with young players still living with their families.
National centers close at the end of 1998 because of lack of money and Italian federation decide to invest money in a different way giving more to teams and private clubs but new players aren’t stronger than the previous ones. After 15 years in September 2015 opens new Federation Center into the Olympic Athletic center in Formia. The best male team results gained by Italy is an historical third place in World Team Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 2000.
The most significant women’s team success is the Team European title in 2003 in Courmayeur. For many years Massimo Costantini was the Italian player who played the most with national team, collecting 452 caps. Laura Negrisoli, still playing this year, won 18 italian team national championship, record among all sports in Italy.