Table tennis at the Rio 2016 Olympics: All you need to know

Table tennis
Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop and connected TVs, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.

The sport in brief: There are four gold medals up for grabs, with singles and team events for both men and women. Matches are the best-of-seven games in singles, and best-of-five games in the team event.

Anything new for Rio 2016? No.

British prospects: Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall have qualified for the singles by right for the first time; they and Sam Walker won bronze for England at the World Team Championships in March but an Olympic medal would be a big shock.

Who are the favourites? China have won 24 of the 28 gold medals in Olympic history, and 15 of the 16 played for this century. Zhang Jike and Zhu Yuling will be back to defend their titles - although they will face tough competition from compatriots Ding Ning and Ma Long.

I didn't know that: Table tennis helped end the Cold War. In 1971, a group of US players became the first Americans to visit China since it had become a Communist state in 1949. The trip, which spawned the phrase "ping-pong diplomacy", is often credited with reviving diplomatic relations between the countries.

Previous British medallists: None

Best British finish: Last 16 (Desmond Douglas in 1988 and Carl Prean in 1992)

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