by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Welcomed by the Director of the Sports Ministry, the location is the El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium, a multi-purpose venue in Djibouti City. The stadium has a capacity of hosting up to 10,000 fans for sporting occasions.
Thus with a total of 23 students present, players of varying experience who now wish to add an umpiring qualification to their curriculum vitae, there is no lack of space!
Furthermore Mohamed Rafat Bassyouni is certainly putting his troops through their paces. Matters commence at 8.00am each day and do not conclude until the sun has set at 8.00pm in the evening.
Tyrannical! In fact the very opposite; you could not meet a more caring, calm and patient man than Mohamed Rafat Bassyouni. He will treat every question his students ask with the greatest of attention and the utmost of respect; always with a warm gentle smile to put his charges at ease.
It is the second such initiative administered under the umbrella of the ITTF Development Programme that has been conducted in Djibouti in recent years.
Frenchman Patrick Ringel visited six years ago in January 2011; on that occasion he led Basic Umpires, Basic Referees and Tournament Organisation courses.