Sexing up the game

Singapore August 23rd, 2008

Well, sex does sell, doesn’t it? Adding sex to any “thing” boring will probably help liven thinigs up a little, although I am not sure if such a move actually defeats the purpose of the “thing” in the first place.

There had been lament that some sports are not appealing enough and the organizers are thinking of adding more spice to it. Sports like table tennis has been identified as one such event. Since Maria Sharapova has already been sporting one of the sexiest sportswear and it, perhaps, unintentionally gained more media attention (as well as the spectators’), the people at the table tennis associations are probably thinking of implementing that strategy in table tennis.

So, instead of the usual loose top and baggy shorts, you can probably look forward to nice sports dress with a flare towards the end, or a short A-line skirt with a fitting top. Don’t forget to dress up the coach and the umpire too! Now, that will really bring the attention of all the guys.

As for the men’s game, perhaps tight fitting lycra bicycle pants will also help – since… well, it’s supposed not to restrict the movement of cyclists, so I figured that it’d be good for the players and ice cream for the female spectators. =P

Sexing up table-tennis  

BEIJING – MARIA Sharapova’s dresses may never make an appearance, nor the Williams sisters’ bling, but table tennis is at least trying to sex up its sport.

Some women paddlers gave a nod of approval this week to suggestions from a senior governing body official to wear skirts during matches to make their game more stylish in an attempt to pull in the crowds.

‘We are trying to push the players to use skirts and also nicer shirts, not the shirts that are made for men, but ones with more curves’, International Table Tennis Federation vice-president Claude Bergeret said.

With loose-fitting shorts and baggy shirts the usual attire, table tennis, mostly played in bland gymnasiums around the world, has never had the glamour of women’s tennis nor the sex appeal of beach volleyball.

Wang Chen of the United States, who used to play for China before moving to New York eight years ago, said some players were already moving to skirts.

‘Some players are already wearing skirts, I think it’s a good idea, the game (already) looks more beautiful than before’, said Wang.

‘I think women should wear dresses like tennis players’, the 34-year-old added. ‘I think our outfits are so boring, not sexy’. Wang said sexing up the uniforms would draw the crowds.

Japan’s Ai Fukuhara is one player already taking the initiative, opting for a ‘skort’ – a tight skirt with cycling shorts underneath – for her round of 16 match on Thursday against China’s Zhang Yining, who wore black shorts and shirt with a striking yellow dragon printed on the front.

Plans to sex-up the image of a sport, which is an obsession in Asia but associated with damp, community halls and youth clubs in the west, are nothing new.

At the 2007 Women’s World Cup in Chengdu, a range of sleek table tennis dresses were shown off with top fashion designer Lu Kun called in to handle the design.

‘Although the skirts are just a small part of the changes, they may spark a revolution by changing the image of table tennis’, explained Steve Daiton, the Director of the ITTF Asia Office.

‘It might be a revolution if women paddlers wear skirts during games just like tennis and badminton players, which will definitely help win back the lost interest in the game’. Not all fans are supportive of the idea.

‘Don’t get me wrong – as a healthy red-blooded male I’m all in favour of table tennis women wearing more attractive clothes’, wrote one blogger on a table tennis fan website.

‘But I’m not in favour of them being pushed or coerced into wearing outfits they aren’t comfortable to play in. And how about the men? Why not bring in compulsory lycra bike pants instead of the baggy shorts many men wear currently?’

‘I’m sure our female audience would appreciate it. And don’t forget the umpires and referees – a little black and white striped skintight number with sequins would surely boost ratings.’ — AFP  

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

Article extracted on 23rd August 2008

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