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Sporting Schools supports Darwin-Chinese School Sports partnership

The Nightcliff table tennis coaching group, holding their Achievement Awards, with PE teacher Mat Ryan and coach Graham Symons

Image: Some of the Nightcliff table tennis coaching group, holding their Achievement Awards, with PE teacher Mat Ryan (left) and coach Graham Symons (right)


Nightcliff Primary School in Darwin is developing a sporting exchange program with a Chinese school that will introduce their students to table tennis through Australia’s participation based Sporting Schools program, whilst Shanghai students will take up AFL.

PE teacher Mat Ryan travelled to China in April with his principal, Graham Chadwick, and assistant principal, Jo Glennon, to finalize the partnership with Hefei Primary School near Shanghai, China.

Nightcliff children will learn table tennis through the $100 million Australian Government funded Sporting Schools program, an initiative to get kids active in schools around Australia.

In turn, Hefei children will learn AFL, culminating in a visit by 16 Nightcliiff children to China in 2017 to compete with the Hefei children in both sports, with a similar visit to Darwin planned in 2018 by the Hefei children.

“Children from both schools are very excited at the prospect of meeting each other and for the chance to learn about another culture," Mr Ryan said.

Nightcliff Primary School arranged five weeks of table tennis coaching in Term 3 this year through the Sporting Schools program and will take table tennis again each term through 2017 and 2018 in a bid to be competitive with their Chinese counterparts.

“Our training has paid off so far, with Nightcliff Primary School winning the Darwin Region primary School Table Tennis Championships in August and taking out the Darwin Primary School AFL Championships”, Ryan said.

“Nightcliff has used the opportunity of Sporting Schools to establish an exchange program that builds cultural awareness and appreciation, which is one of the great benefits of participation in sport,” Table Tennis Australia National Development Manager, Tiffany Angliss said.

 “Sporting Schools is a great opportunity for schools to introduce new sports to their students that they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to try. This is important because this is the age where children develop preferences for particular sports later in life- the broader the exposure to sport, the increased chances of participation throughout their lifetimes” Ms Angliss said.

After closely following the Chinese table tennis success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Nightcliff children know they will have to train hard to match their Hefei counterparts.


Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Table Tennis program at your school? Check out all the details on the Table Tennis Australia page.