Today’s Active Lives release from Sport England* shows activity levels among children and young people have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Positives can be found when diving into the findings for table tennis; the report shows that 279,200 children and young people and a population rate of 3.8% took part in table tennis at least once a week during the period from September 2021 to July 2022. Not only an increase on the same period last year, where figures were 192,300 and 2.7%, but an increase on the baseline figures of 229,100 and 3.3% from when the first report was released in 2018.

Moreover, wider comparisons with baseline figures shows increases in table tennis participation among secondary school years (ages 11-16) and increases in engagement among girls. This is a powerful reflection of the commitment that schools, clubs, leagues, coaches and volunteers share with us to close the gender gap in table tennis.  

We are deeply committed to tackle the inequalities that we know still exist in our sport, and there is more we can do in line with Table Tennis United to continue providing positive experiences in table tennis for children and young people.

“It’s great to see that so many children and young people are playing table tennis.  The game is very accessible and more schools and leisure centres are wanting to offer table tennis. Our programme for U11s, TT Kidz continues to grow with more clubs than ever, including girls’ only sessions and within primary schools. My thanks to schools, clubs and partners for providing so many opportunities for children to play table tennis.”

Chris Turner, Youth Participation Lead, Table Tennis England:

*About the Active Lives Report

The report presents data for children and young people in school Years 1-11 (ages 5-16) in England during the academic year 2021-22. This is the first report in 3 years, since the 2018-19 release, without significant disruptions caused by Covid-19.

47% of children and young people (3.4 million) are meeting the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes or more of sport and physical activity a day, matching pre-pandemic levels. Looking at the group less active, 30% are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day – a 2% decrease and an encouraging change compared with 12 months ago.