17 Dec 2016

Play approaching conclusion on Friday 16th December in Las Vegas at the United States Para Open; hard fought contests have been the order of proceedings from the very first point.

Equally, on the eve of the tournament, Tuesday 13th December, there was intense activity; a course for Technical Delegates was staged.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Present to lead the course, alongside Italy’s Tina Crotta who had jet-setted hot foot from the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Qatar, was Slovenia’s Gorazd Vecko, the current Performance Director for the Great Britain Paralympic Team.

Three students attended the course being Venezuela’s Francia Rojas, Colombia’s Alex Figueroa, presently resident in Los Angeles and Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz.

A Technical Director works closely with the Referee, each having a distinct role but complementing each other. It is in many ways the same relationship that exists between a Competition Manager and Referee at an ITTF World Tour or ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.

“Working in Para Table Tennis is very interesting as you see the how hard players have worked to overcome their disability and achieve. The course was very interesting; we learned all the procedures necessary not only in theory, also in practice by watching United States Para Open. We saw a Technical Delegate working in a real situation; that was most beneficial. I am looking forward to my first tournament as a Technical Director”, Freddy Almendariz.

However, there is one major difference; table tennis is one of the most developed of all Para sports, a total of 11 classes for men and 11 for women. One of the immediate prior tasks to a tournament commencing is to decide which classes may need to be combined if there are not sufficient players to form a meaningful competition a particular category. The Technical Delegate works alongside the Referee in this respect.

“We had a practice at the United States Open, and we could see how the Technical Delegate worked under pressure, hard work; now I will understand what Technical Delegates do when I go to a tournament as a coach”, Francia Rojas.

Matters started with Gorazd Vecko addressing the group, the program for completing results designed by Dr. Wu was explained as were matters relevant to the Call Area, the Technical Delegates Report, Racket Control and advised by Tin Crotta, Field of Play Classification.

“I enjoyed showing these three young people the procedures for a Para table tennis event. They were very active, they posed a lot of questions and they were all willing to help”, Tina Crotta

Theory very much the order of the day, on the second day of action, the members of the group were able to watch play in action and gain a greater understanding of the role of the Technical Director.

“Tina and myself were both happy with the course; it was a very easy group to teach, all exactly the people we need”, Gorazd Vecko.

A theory test concluded the course.

Paralympics Para Table Tennis United States Para Open