26 February 2021

The search is on for Canberra's top table tennis workplace

| Michael Weaver
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People playing table tennis.

The Table Tennis Corporate Cup gives workmates a chance to show their prowess in the popular office sport. Photo: Supplied.

There’s no better time for work colleagues to invest in a table tennis table as Canberra hosts a state round of the 2021 Table Tennis Corporate Cup that will determine the best team in Australia.

More than 250 companies registered for the inaugural event in 2019, which saw more than 2500 table tennis matches played in workplaces around Australia.

The 2021 edition will be rolled out in five states, taking in the cities of Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne throughout March and April. The first rounds will be held from 7-31 March, then finals will take place in late April. Dates vary at each location.

Each team consists of five players – four players and one sub – and must include mixed genders.

The tournament is run by Table Tennis Australia and was originally developed to give businesses and organisations the opportunity to engage their staff and foster a strong, wellbeing-driven corporate culture.

Table Tennis Australia CEO Scott Houston said the past 12 months have been extremely challenging for everybody and left many people looking for new opportunities to reconnect with their communities, both at home and in the workplace.

READ ALSO: Champions among us: Canberra tennis prodigy Helen Gourlay

“With many organisations across Australia now promoting a safe return to work and welcoming their employees back into their offices, I think it is a perfect time to give people an opportunity to rebuild those meaningful connections and rekindle that sense of corporate community which has been so hard to preserve during 2020,” he said.

In March 2020, the program had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic despite 50 companies having already signed up for it, including multinational corporations such as Google and PwC.

“COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives and put a significant strain on our physical and mental health,” said Mr Houston.

“While some people adapted well to the new environment where the option of working from home has been made more widely available, many have experienced feelings of isolation and disconnection.

“We think this tournament is key to bringing people in the workplace back together.”

Once a team is registered, Table Tennis Corporate Cup matches will be first played at workplaces, in March, for the top spot on the internal leaderboard.

After internal matches are completed, companies enter regional finals in mixed-gender teams of four, held in late April. All events will take place according to Table Tennis Australia’s approved COVID-Safe plan and in compliance with local health and safety requirements and recommendations.

READ ALSO: Crumbling memories of the abandoned Hawker Tennis Centre

Table Tennis Corporate Cup program manager Patrick Wuertz said the sport is a fundamental part of our social interactions and table tennis can play a significant part in boosting morale and creating networking opportunities, eventually fostering a healthier and engaging culture in the workplace.

“Table tennis is an inclusive and accessible sport that gives everyone the opportunity to have a go and spend some time having fun with their colleagues,” he said.

“The huge participation numbers we had in our first year are a testament to the fact the Corporate Cup can play an important role in engaging staff and building a healthy corporate culture. We hope many companies will take the opportunity to register, bring table tennis to their workplace and leverage the benefits it can provide to their workforce.”

Companies are encouraged to sign up for the Table Tennis Corporate Cup at the program’s registration page. More information is available here or by emailing corporatecup@tabletennis.org.au.

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