The Schools’ Table Tennis program began in Bennelong in 2011 when, during visits to local schools, John Alexander identified cultural divides when it came to participation in sport.
As a former international tennis player, JA is a strong advocate for the physical, mental, and social benefits of recreational activity, starting from a young age. The sport of table tennis is one that transcends gender, age, fitness levels, and skill.
Through the generosity of Hyundai Australia – and in cooperation with Table Tennis Australia – JA facilitated the donation of table tennis tables to all schools within Bennelong.
Coaching clinics for the students were organised for each school – and the Bennelong Schools Table Tennis Competition was born; now held annually in October.
Hyundai Australia has also extended its generosity to sponsor the Bennelong Cup Test Match at The Great Hall in Parliament House, Canberra, as well as at ELS Hall in North Ryde.
The Bennelong Cup Competition is an official annual sporting event involving the Australian table tennis team and international competitors. It has proved to be a great tool for cultural integration amongst students in Bennelong schools, whilst also giving adults the opportunity for a bit of fun – and to marvel at the great talents of some of the world’s best players.
In 2015 this competition was expanded to include 6 teams from China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand, bringing together some of the world’s best table tennis players to build stronger international relationships through friendly competition. The Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop, launched last year’s event in the Great Hall of Parliament House.
John Alexander is proud that the Bennelong Cup has helped develop sports diplomacy and foster sports tourism across the region.