TABLE tennis is set to get more interesting with a new local invention: a bat with an oblique handle.
Retired school teacher Lim Sze Choong, aged 67, is the brains behind the innovative design which will soon hit the market in Malaysia.
Recounting how it came about, he said, “In the 1980s, I made a crude prototype of the bat just for fun, and I was surprised at how much more I was enjoying my ping pong.”
“Whenever I approached the net to smack the ball, whether with a forehand or backhand, my buddies cringed!” he said with a laugh.
The unique angle of the bat handle gives the player an advantage that is encapsulated by the product tagline: “Why bend your wrist when you can bend the bat?”
By eliminating the bending of the wrist, the design of the handle allows for a more comfortable feel and provides a longer reach to players.
According to findings and feedback from test games, the difference in reach works out to be about 5cm more than with regular bats.
“The advantage is even more obvious when a player is faced with an emergency situation,” Lim said.
“In a survey I conducted recently, seven out of 10 players agreed that the Oblique Bat stood a better chance of saving an emergency shot,” he pointed out.
Lim is confident that the general public will be receptive.
Noting that while some established players may not warm up to the bat, he feels that younger players will be game for innovation and that primary schoolchildren are a good target market.
According to Lim, the bat does not contravene existing rules set by the International Table Tennis Federation.
“Just like the Fosbury Flop of high jump, I believe that given a chance, the bat will catch on.
“Today, Olympic high jumpers will jump no other way except for the Fosbury Flop,” he said.
Lim, who filed for patent rights for his invention in 1992, was granted the patent in 2007 and has the rights extending to more than 160 countries under the Berne Convention.
As there are no ping pong bat manufacturers in Malaysia or Singapore, Lim had to travel to Hong Kong to have a consignment made to the specifications.
Although manufactured overseas, he considers the bat a Malaysian product.
“This is a great opportunity for a Malaysian product to take the world by storm,” he said.
He added that he was open to working with individuals or corporations interested in collaborating on a full-scale production and distribution of the new bat.
“If response is good, we may even start a small factory here in Malaysia,” he said.
The bat is available at a promotional price of RM49.90 while stocks last. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org