22 Oct 2017

Located in the heart of Kabul, the Afghanistan Olympic Complex, the home for the nation’s affiliated sports federations, was the recent host for a Basic Umpire, Basic Referee and Tournament Organiser Course.

Staged under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, locally the courses were administered by the Afghanistan Table Tennis Federation in conjunction with the General Directorate of Physical Education and Sport of Afghanistan.

By C.K. Chan, Course Conductor

Proceedings commenced on Saturday 14th October and concluded on Friday 20th October 2017.

A total of 12 students, four being female took part in the Basic Umpire and Basic Referee courses; overall 19 participants of whom five were female attended the Tournament Organiser Course.

Learning the skills required for umpiring (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


It was the first such initiatives to be organised in Afghanistan. Among the candidates were Abdul Hamed Rasuoli and Heleena Kakar, Deputy President and Secretary General of Afghanistan Table Tennis Federation respectively; they provided a great source of motivation for the students.

Although most of the participants had many years of experience either as players or local administrators in table tennis, none had experienced any formal training. During the course, they seized the opportunity, asked many questions and took part in all the group discussions. All the participants were eager to learn to improve their knowledge and advance their skills in officiating, as well as in organising competitions in the country.

C.K. Chan supervises as a student fulfils the role of the Referee (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


On Thursday 19th October, all candidates took a break to attend a brief media conference. Dr. Abdul Razao Siawash, President of Afghanistan Table Tennis Federation and Mr. Mirwais Bahavi, Deputy Director of General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan were present to greet the candidates.

“The level of table tennis in Afghanistan may not reach the level of many other countries, I am delighted that the sports authority of Afghanistan is now giving priority and more opportunity to the development of table tennis in Afghanistan. I am thankful to the ITTF for sending one of its most experienced trainers to conduct the course; by sharing his knowledge and experience with the candidates, the level of understanding and knowledge will definitely be raised. The training will help Afghanistan to conduct its national championships in a professional manner.” Dr. Abdul Razao Siawash

Concentration, intense study the order of proceedings (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


Addressing the participants and the press, Mr. Mirwais Bahavi acknowledged the hard work of the Afghanistan Table Tennis Federation in past few years and undertook to provide the necessary land to the Federation enabling them to promote and develop table tennis in Afghanistan.

Unquestionably, these were words of encouragement and motivation to all the participants. They underlined the great value of such courses, whilst also looking forward to the future with a sense of hope and anticipation.

Listening intently at the Tournament Organiser course (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


The courses actually attracted some media attention. I was invited by one of the national television stations (Tolo TV) to join its live morning sports programme for an interview in its studio on Thursday 20th October. Focus of the interview was on the training programme and its impact on youth engagement on sports, particularly on table tennis.

Understandably, the English language was one of the obstacles for the participants; thanks to the very able translation provided by Ms. Heleena Kakar, the difficulty was overcome.

Organising the draw (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


An intense course, at the conclusion of proceedings, seven candidates received the “Certified Basic Umpire” umpire award, five gained “Certified Basic Referee” certificates.

My thanks for the hard work and dedication of all the participants; I encourage them to continue to work and learn in improving their knowledge and skills of officiating.

A most convivial occasion; C.K. Chan (front left) enjoys lunch with course members (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)
High Performance and Development Umpires and Referees C.K.Chan