01 Jul 2017

Play concluded in Buenos Aires on Sunday 25th June at the Pan American Junior Championships; for players and coaches it was farewell and a return home.

It was not the situation for Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz, the Chair of the Latin American Table Tennis Union Umpires, Referees and Rules Committee; the Competition Manager on duty at the six day tournament. It was immediately back to work.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

He was charged with the task of leading a Basic Umpires Course from Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th June; a course which attracted 14 men and four women, in addition to Buenos Aires, several course members made the seven hour car journey from Santa Rosa la Pampa.

“This group was really good, very friendly and enthusiastic, I was very pleased because 60 per cent of the participants were really young and will help at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.”, Freddy Almendariz

Also present to assist Freddy Almendariz was the host nation’s Santiago Mercade, a Blue Badge Umpire and International Referee; he is preparing to follow in the footsteps of Freddy Almendariz, as Course Conductor.

“Santiago Mercade worked very well, he did a very good job; it was easy to work with him.” Freddy Almendariz

“I am happy for this opportunity, I will do my best”. Santiago Mercade

Most certainly Freddy Almendariz and Santiago Mercade motivated the students; the response was most positive.

“I would like to be an International Umpire and to be able to go to big events; new challenges and goals.” Leandro Groisman, Systems Engineer

“The course was fun from the beginning, I thank to Freddy Almendariz and Santiago Mercade for all the knowledge provided; I would like to be part in the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.” Romina Canales, an 18 year old high school student

“It is really different being a table tennis player as opposed to a ping pong player. Now I know the rules of table tennis, I can see everything very differently; great course with great people.” Carlos Buchbinder, a lawyer

“I like to umpire and I have done so at the local level. I hope to represent Argentina in some big event,” Camila Méndez, 22 year old sports student

Enthusiastic students, the highest mark was gained Maria Pia Zaruza, who has been umpiring since 2010 and has umpired ay international events in Argentina.

“Maria Pia has a great knowledge of the rules and thanks to this she gained high marks, the most important thing to note is that throughout the course, she was always very proactive giving local experiences that she had experienced. Pia is a very good umpire and will surely have a lot of opportunities in the future,”.” Freddy Almendariz

“I was very nervous at the beginning of the course. In 2016 I failed the International Umpires exam. Now I feel more prepared and more confident. I’m pleased I passed. Maria Pia Zaruza

An impressive total 17 students gained the necessary standard to gain the Basic Umpires qualification.

The participants were: Carlos Buchbinder, Romina Canales, Camila Chiaramontes, Jonathan Espinoza, Tulio Fraga, Andrés Goldberg, Daniel Galardi, Luis Greco, Leandro Groisman, Gerard Gutierrez, Juan Hernandez, Pablo Kibisz, Nicolas Leiva, Camila Mendez, Maximiliano Moscoso, Enrique Romero, Matias Vilte and Maria Pía Zarauza.

Argentina – Basic Umpires Course
Photos: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz

High Performance and Development Umpires and Referees Freddy Almendariz