by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Media Officer
Adel Nahdi was a household table tennis name in Tunisia having played for Esperance Club and represented Tunisia at various international competitions.
However, Nahdi decided to take to umpiring and for years he has been an international umpire in Tunisia.
Having watched her father play to the top level, 22-year-old Chaima wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps but her inability to make it big in sport prompted her to dump active playing in favour of umpiring.
“I watched my father playing for Esperance and the Tunisia national team and I wanted to emulate him but I realised that I did not start early enough. I then decided to quit when I was 16. I also watched my father taking to umpiring, which I admired a lot because of the discipline and strictness I saw in my father when handling matches”, Chaima Nahdi.
After watching her father umpiring for three years, Chaima made up her mind to try her hand on umpiring and at 19, she started off as a national umpire.
“When I started… I was a bit nervous but my father used to tell me not to be afraid but be calm and not to be intimidated by any player”, Chaima Nahdi said.
For three years, Chaima has handled matches at the Tunisia World Junior Circuit and this year, she is featuring in her first continental championships, which she described as a different experience due to the number of players.
“I had umpired at three World Junior Circuit events in Tunisia and this year, I am handling matches at my first continental championships. I think the confidence I have gained handling matches at World Junior Circuit has prepared me very well for the bigger challenge. But my father always tells me to be firm in my decision and be strict whenever I am handling crucial and tense matches. This has really helped me and I continue to learn on the job”, the business management undergraduate of Tunis-based Intes University Chaima Nahdi said.
Even though her father is yet to get a blue badge, Chaima is thinking beyond just being an international umpire but she hopes she can become a blue badge umpire in some years to come.
“I love umpiring because of the discipline and strictness qualities that is imparted on umpires and this has continued to attract me to the sport. I will continue umpiring as long as I can and my target is to get a blue badge and officiate at the Olympic Games and World Championships”, Chaima Nahdi added.