15 Feb 2023

This marks a milestone in the history of table tennis in Australia.

Participation rates for Table Tennis Australia (TTA) in 2022 has crossed the 200,000 mark for the first time in its history, breaking the previous participation record of 168,560 set in 2019. This marks a whopping 47% increase over just three years, an impressive number considering the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increase in participation rates have been almost equally distributed across the age groups from youths aged 18 and below all the way to veterans aged 50 and above.

Reinforcing this, the Chief Executive Officer of Table Tennis Australia, Scott Houston, said, “Table Tennis is arguably the most inclusive sport in the world. It can be played by people of all ages, regardless of gender and ability. Equipment costs are relatively low compared to many other sports and it can be played in all seasons. The increase in our participation rates from 2019 to 2022 truly highlights how table tennis is indeed a sport for all and a sport for life.”

Photo courtesy of Table Tennis Australia


The good results achieved by the TTA reflect not just the popularity of the sport itself, but also the collective hard work that the association put into driving the sport forward, particularly on a grassroots level.

As a relatively small association, TTA services 8 State Associations and about 250 affiliated clubs, of which a majority are run by passionate volunteers. Over the years, TTA have worked hard to introduce the sport to a diverse group of people. This includes running the Sporting Schools programme specifically for school children to learn how to play table tennis, as well as a series of competitions catered to participants of different age groups such as the National Championships and National Veterans Championships. They also introduced a variety of programmes that encourage interest in table tennis, namely Spinneroos, which is an entry level table tennis programme that clubs can run to attract new participants, the Equipment and Facilities Grant programme, which enables clubs to apply for funding in order to upgrade their equipment and facilities. To motivate their pool of volunteers, TTA also set up the National Volunteer Recognition Programme, which recognises volunteers and their efforts across multiple categories.

Photo courtesy of Table Tennis Australia


Other initiatives to ramp up participation rates include the National Hopes and Pathways Programme, which organises training camps and competitions for Under-12 players, and the Para Pathways Programme, which was designed to inspire people with disabilities to take up table tennis as well. Another way in which the TTA strives for more active participation is by launching the TTA Tour, a national level event series that provides opportunities for players, officials, and coaches to participate in the sport competitively, thereby increasing interest in the sport.

Photo courtesy of Table Tennis Australia


For many young people, table tennis has become a way to have fun and connect with friends, as a challenging sport that often requires quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, and strategy. Many of these players may also end up picking up the sport competitively. For older adults, table tennis provides an opportunity to stay active and maintain good physical and mental health, with the option to stay competitive by participating in Veterans competitions. With more youths and seniors alike discovering the benefits of the sport, it is no wonder that table tennis has fast become a popular sport.

In September 2022, ITTF-Oceania hosted the ITTF-Oceania Championships in Australia, a continental event held at Eastland Shopping Centre. This was in a bid to introduce the sport to new audiences and increase the level of community engagement, which they succeeded on multiple levels. It highlighted some of the more innovative ways in which member associations try to ramp up participation in the sport. You may read more about this initiative here.

The increased participation rates in table tennis is a reflection of a broader trend, as people around the world turn to the sport both as a form of exercise and also to engage in it competitively. With its low-impact nature, accessibility, social benefits, and competitive options, table tennis is an obvious choice for people of all ages and abilities are turning to.

The positive results seen from TTA are inspiring the table tennis family to continue doing more to raise the sport to greater heights both competitively and leisurely and to make table tennis an even more popular sport all around the world.

General News Table Tennis Australia record participation rates