by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Directed by Bruce Burton, ITTF Executive Vice President, the concept which has involved a series of meetings, assignments and evaluations commenced in 2012.
Later in May 2015 the second phase, involving eight members, commenced at the Qoros World Championships in Suzhou.
In Kuala Lumpur, the three day itinerary involved such items as presentations, case studies and draw preparation. In addition, all candidates were asked to prepare a topic designed to develop an umpire schedule for an ITTF World Tour tournament. It may appear at first sight an easy task but when different nationalities and different levels of umpiring are involved, challenges accrue.
However, the most challenging exercise was to design a tournament format based on the Olympic Games requirements.
“Top events are determined on many parameters always aiming to provide best conditions for players, spectators, media, sponsors, organizers and officials”, explained Michael Zwipp, a member of the Expert Group who led the proceedings in Kuala Lumpur.
“The participants worked hard through late night and felt under pressure; well, that’s what will happen in real tournaments as well”, stressed Michael Zwipp. “So it was a good rehearsal for the next events to come!”
Additionally, decision making was high on the agenda; videos including “Angry Moments in Table Tennis” were shown; those present in Kuala Lumpur being required to make judgements. The answers were not always universal.
“Finally, the candidates were told their next assignments as referee or deputy referee for 2017”, continued Michael Zwipp. “This is the opportunity to use the experience from this programme and put it into practice.”
In early 2018 the group will meet again for a concluding workshop when they will be able to reflect on next year’s experiences and the new award “ITTF Advanced Referee” will be made to the successful.
Members of the group that met in Malaysia were Mohamed Bassyoni (Egypt), Isabelle Beumier (Belgium), Tina Crotta (Greece), Silvia Garro (Costa Rica), Joseph Lau (Singapore), Cyril Sen (Malaysia), Thomas Wadsten (Sweden) and Zhang Yingqui (China).