12 Jun 2017

Proceedings concluded in Mexico City, the next stop for Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz, the Chair of the Latin American Table Tennis Union’s Umpires, Referees and Rules Committee, on his travels of the Central American country, was Villahermosa.

Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme in conjunction with the Mexican Table Tennis Federation, he was present to conduct a self-funded Basic Umpires Course; matters commenced on Monday 5th June and concluded on Wednesday 7th June.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Overall, six students attended, five men and one woman; in addition to Villahermosa, they travelled from not too far distant Comitan de Dominguez.

Venue for the whole course was the Juarez Autonomous University of Tabasco, with Gerardo Palavicini, the Sports Co-ordinator being the local liaison and aiming to stage an ITTF/PTT International Open in Villahermosa next year.

“The proposal to make this kind of course in Villahermosa is try to prepare umpires for a Para international tournament; the local government is helping us. The name of the tournament will be Hoffmann Cup and it will be Factor 20 for World ranking. I want to thank all participants in this course because they will be the future of umpires in Tabasco and for sure in Mexico.” Gerardo Palavicini

Government support and for Gerardo Pelavicini, there is also support from the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Tabasco; pertinently Jorge Lerma, the Director was present for the Opening Ceremony.

“The government of Tabasco is helping with the development of sport throughout the state; for sure we want international tournaments in order to promote tourism in this beautiful state in Mexico.” Jorge Lerma

Support from the Tabasco region; such backing is greatly appreciated and supports the extensive efforts of the Latin American Table Tennis Union.

“We are working very hard in Latin America to have more umpires and referees, this is a good initiative; for sure these people will help in the local tournaments and can progress further. My thanks for the support.” Freddy Almendariz

A positive response from official sources and there were positive responses from the students; no more so than from Denise Lopez, the only woman in this course who had started to play table tennis at university.

“I learned many new things in this course, some rules I never heard before and for that reason I am happy. The interesting part was when we started to study the Para rules; important with next year’s tournament in mind.” Denise Lopez

Likewise, Luis Izquierdo, a law student who had also started to play table tennis at university and was coached by Gerardo Pelavicini, was also highly encouraged.

“I am very motivated to continue in this career, Freddy Almendariz after the course, showed us matches where had umpired famous players like Ma Long, Zhang Jike and Jun Mizutani.” Luis Izquierdo

Promising students but none more promising than Francisco Abarca, he is a Professor of Sport and gained the highest marks.

“It is nice to get the highest marks. I know I can have a good career in this area. In this course I could get a new knowledge and learn how to apply the rules, the first experience will be this weekend in a local tournament where I will be umpiring.” Francisco Abarca

Top student and in fact all were top students; all achieved the required pass mark. A Basic Certified Referees Course now follows on Thursday 8th June.

“I am happy that all of you passed, in this group have a good atmosphere; young people. Good luck for the Basic Referees Course.” Freddy Almendariz

The participants were: Francisco Abarca, Luis Izquierdo, Denisse Lopez, Jhonatan Marquez, Gerardo Palavicini and Miguel Vera.

 2017 Spanish Para Open
Photos: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz

High Performance and Development Umpires and Referees Freddy Almendariz