18 Apr 2017

Staged in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, the country that shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, organised under the auspices of the Latin American Table Tennis Union and in liaison with the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation, a successful Basic Umpires Course was conducted from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th April.

Led by Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz, the Chair of the Umpires, Referees and Rules Committee for the Latin American Table Tennis Union, a total of 22 students, 15 men and seven women attended.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In addition to Santo Domingo, course members travelled from, Monte Plata, Sanchez Ramirez, La Vega, Moca, Distrito Nacional, Mao, Cotui, Bayaguana and San Pedro de Macoris. Home for the whole proceedings was the Parque del Este Center.

A very pleasing attendance and there was a notable guest who saw great value in the course.

Juan Vila, President of Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation and Latin American Table Tennis Union, visited. He explained that the course was a major opportunity to prepare umpires for the forthcoming Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Latin American Qualification Tournament to be held in Santo Domingo from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th May.

“Before we started the course we met with Mr. Luis Mejia, President of the National Olympic Committee and Enmanuel Trinidad, a government minister; we explained the basics of the ITTF Development Programme and the need for umpires for the Youth Olympic Games Qualification tournament”, Freddy Almendariz

All responded to the efforts of Freddy Almendariz, a young man who smiles in the face of adversity and always takes a positive view of life.

“I was very pleased to see that the participants were really young; that is very important for development. Importantly many women attended, I felt really happy for that”, Freddy Almendariz

Notable students included Ricardo Vargas, a professional photographer who in October will travel to the Korea Republic to study for a Masters’ Degree. Also Sergio Caraballo an engineering university student was present, as was Johenny Valdez, a member of the Dominican Republic National Team, who competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

“The course was really good, the expert used many ways to try to explain the rules to us and I understood everything. However I think we need more time because two or three days is really short”, Ricardo Vargas

“I want to be an International Referee and I know that I need go step by step, this is the first step to reach my goal. I enjoyed the course, it answered all my questions.” Sergio Caraballo

“I want to represent the Dominican Republic now as umpire. I never thought that being an umpire was difficult but after this course I know that is not only counting points. I would like to return to the Olympic Games as an umpire or referee.” Johenny Valdez

Worthy students but the best was Christopher Soler, hard work resulted in the highest marks on the course.

“These three days were very hard and of course we took advantage the knowledge of Freddy Almendariz, I learned to so much and now I know I must study the Handbook, there are many things to analyse.” Christopher Soler

A total of ten students passed the course; a Basic Referees Course will be held from Dominican Republic has now 10 new BCU, in May from Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th May.

“My thanks to Mr. Juan Vila President and Pedro Julio Polanco member of the National Federation for the support during this all week; I think everybody left happy.” Freddy Almendariz.

The participants on the Basic Umpires Course were: Chistopher Soler, Rafael Fernandez, Gabriel Saturria, Kelvin Peralta, Perla Hernandez, Heriberto Reynoso, Johenny Valdez, Sergio Caraballo, Jose Elias Rodríguez, Aurelina Rojas, Gloria Pineda, Miguel Rincon, Katherine Pena, Ricardo Vargas, Juan Carlos Zapata, Joan Landron, Arisleidy Rodriguez, Jorge Liriano, Braimy Mendez, Eric Casilla, Veronica Hernandez and Francisco Matos.

 Basic Umpires Course in the Dominican Republic

Photos: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz

High Performance and Development Coaching Umpires and Referees Freddy Almendariz