by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
The expert present was Uganda’s Ronald Mugwanya, an ITTF Blue Badge umpire, who had conducted a Basic Umpires Course in the Ivory Coast one year ago; the recent course was predominantly for national and international umpires.
Theory and practical sessions alongside video analysis formed the agenda; also a junior tournament was held at the Sodemi Club in order for the umpires to hone their skills.
“This was far from a simulation. It was a real situation with umpires evaluated. We tried to create the work environment that umpires may meet during the Games. Hence, there were umpires teams, a detailed umpiring schedule that indicated various tasks like Call Area and being the reserve umpire. In the Call Area, umpires where required to perform duties like racket check, toss, playing clothing checks, coach identification, ball selection and walk in procedure with players’ rackets already held in bags. The junior players also marvelled at this way of organizing a tournament. During the tournament, umpires were required to be very vigilant on services and behaviour. The best four boys who reached the semi-finals also formed two teams to compete in a team final. The purpose of this was to enable umpires to familiarize with the different tasks involved during a team match like, racket management and record keeping in case of sanctions.” Ronald Mugwanya
Trophies and medals as well as equipment donated by Ping Sans Frontières were awarded to the winners.
Present for the tournament was Yao Kossonnou, the Francophone Games Technical Official Games Co-ordinator who urged the umpires to represent their country, Africa and the International Table Tennis Federation in a diligent matter. He attended the final matches and was impressed by the work of the umpires and the performance of the players.
Notably he thanked International Table Tennis Federation for approving Ronald Mugwanya for the training. In return Ronald Mugwanya thanked the Organising Committee for giving attention to umpiring, whilst wishing the umpires and all concerned a successful Games.
Additional to officials from the host country; also present at the Games will be umpires from Belgium, France, Lebanon, Congo Republic, Morocco, Djibouti and Tunisia.
Referee for the tournament is Frenchman Patrick Ringel, he will be assisted by Algeria’s Said Lanasri; the official in charge of Racket Control is Egypt’s Mohammed Bassyoni.
The table tennis events commence on Saturday 22nd July.