10 Jul 2017

Situated in the west central part of the Central American country of Costa Rica, San José, the capital city, was the recent home for a Basic Umpires Course.

Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, in liaison with the Costa Rica Table Tennis Federation, proceedings commenced on Monday 3rd July and concluded on Wednesday 5th July.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Now one of the most active Course Conductors, Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz, the Chair of the Latin American Table Tennis Union’s Umpires, Referees and Rules Committee, was the expert on duty for a gathering that has an immediate goal. Costa Rica will stage the ITTF Pan American Cup from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th July.

Overall, 19 students arrived, 15 men and four women; in addition to San José, they travelled from the localities of Heredia, Carrillos, Escazu, Alajuela, Santo Domingo, Cartago, Esparza, Coronado, Guadalupe and Buenos Aires.

Don’t be confused, the student from Santo Domingo was not from the capital city of the Dominican Republic; nor was the person present from Buenos Aires, a resident of the celebrated Argentine city. Santo Domingo and Buenos Aires are small towns in Costa Rica.

 “The students on this course did really well, many young people attended; the tendency of new young people who want to start a career in umpiring motivates me to continue to work very hard.” Freddy Almendariz

Young people but there was one notable name of more senior years present; Venezuela’s Ricardo de Armas, working as coach in Costa Rica is currently he is the Latin American Champion in the Men’s Over 60 years category.

“I am happy I was able to attend this course, table tennis has changed immensely in recent years and I want to learn; this course will help my students and for sure I will try to motivate more people to become umpires.” Ricardo de Armas

Conversely, somewhat at the opposite end of the age scale was Fiorella Solano, an 18 year old student; she proved to be one of the most successful students on the course.

“I liked this course because all the time we could interact with each other; I was able to learn the rules and now I feel that I can work as umpire. Freddy Almendariz is a good teacher and a good person; all the time he asked us if we understood the rules after his explanation. He understands thoroughly, his efforts helped me gain high marks.” Fiorella Solano

High marks for Fiorella Solano, it was the same for Ronald Solano, her father, as it was for 20 year old Ricardo Castro, an enthusiastic local table tennis player.

“This is a new world, my daughter plays table tennis and many times I did not understand, now it is different, I know much more.” Ronald Solano.

Freddy Almendariz congratulated to all participants and concluded matters by awarding certificates.

“This was a good group and for sure, it will help the Costa Rica Table Tennis Federation in the local events; some members of the group will be able to officiate at the ITTF Pan American Cup to be held at the of July.” Freddy Almendariz

The participants were: Ricardo Castro, Ronald Solano, Phillips Nunez, Jose Leandro, Fiorella Solano, Fabian Herrera, Ricardo de Armas, Arturo Silesky, Heyler Mena, Adrian Zumbalo, Hellen Rivera, Rosario Hernandez, Agustin Rodriguez, Jose Rodriguez, Wendy Chaves, Danilo Azofeifa, Dhruva Martinez, Karla Raabe and Keylor Quesada.

 San José, Costa Rica: Basic Umpires Course

Photos: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz

High Performance and Development Umpires and Referees Freddy Almendariz