Classic Hardbat World Table Tennis Championships

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Below are links to the nine articles I wrote (in order) at the Classic Hardbat World Table Tennis Championships, held Aug. 6-7 in Missouri City, TX, just outside Houston. Read them in order or pick and choose! Open Hardbat is the last article, with (spoiler alert!) the big final between superstars Jimmy Butler (USA) and Alexander "The Flash" Flemming (GER).
-Larry Hodges
 
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Is there any info available on what hardbat rubbers are most commonly used? Looks like Flash uses samsonov force pro blade.

 
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Is there any info available on what hardbat rubbers are most commonly used? Looks like Flash uses samsonov force pro blade.

This does not seem to be in the spirit of the hardbat puritan philosophy because did they have high technology 7 ply blades during the hardbat era ?

If that is the case, then Flash is gaining an unfair mechanical advantage (as hardnat folks lovingly refer to sponge era blades & rubbers) by using a blade from sponge era. Is this ethical ? To me this is not much different from using a carbon blade or an illegally boosted rubber.(from sponge era)
 
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It would be nice to have more clarity on hardbat and sandpaper equipment requirements. Seems like high level sandpaper tournaments supply the bats but everything else is pretty vague. No blade (other than all wood) or grit standards, although the most recent WCPP used 7 ply sanwei sandpaper bats. I assume 7ply may be the current standard since the use of the 40+ ball.

Some of the approved hardbat rubbers are cloth backed.
 
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