24 Nov 2017

Conducted by Germany’s Michael Zwipp alongside Canada’s Joe Fisher, the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava was the home for a recent International Referees School; proceedings commenced on Thursday 16th November and concluded on Sunday 19th November.

Once again organised by the Umpires and Referees Committee of the International Table Tennis Federation, the gathering followed a similar occasion held in Cairo from Friday 6th October to Monday 9th October.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Only some four weeks after the event had concluded in Cairo; nevertheless, 10 candidates attended the seminar staged in the National Table Tennis Centre located to the north of the city.

“The building is perfectly equipped for table tennis: sports hall, gym, offices and meeting rooms, the heart place of the table tennis family for the country. Perfect conditions were prepared for our course, state-of-the-art presentation facilities, space for group work and always fresh coffee to inspire our senses. Thanks a lot to our host, the Slovak Table Tennis Association and its General Secretary, Anton Hamran, who made us feeling very welcomed.” Michael Zwipp

Joe Fisher addresses the group (Photo: courtesy of Michael Zwipp)


A wide range of topics was discussed, the main focus being on draw procedure, tournament schedule, call area policies and racket test. The course members had to analyse different scenarios in working groups and were asked to perform role play in given critical situations. In addition two coaches addressed the group.

“The sessions were designed to examine the personal, social and communication skills of the students, the latter is important in order to solve complex issues which may occur in tournaments.” Michael Zwipp.

A major objective of an International Referees School is to qualify new International Referees; thus assessment; examinations and challenged the candidates.

“Homework, rules test, racket measurement exercises, rule interpretation and the development of a tournament schedule had to be delivered by the candidates. They final result took into consideration all the elements required. A comprehensive written test and an individual interview completed the stringent assessments.” Michael Zwipp

Role play proved a fun part of the overall itinerary (Photo: courtesy of Michel Zwipp)Overall six candidates passed; notably Iran’s Simin Rezaie Jahdkon gained the highest marks and becomes her country’s first International Referee.


Overall six candidates passed; notably Iran’s Simin Rezaie Jahdkon gained the highest marks and becomes her country’s first International Referee.

“Congratulations to Simin, we wish to see her officiating at many international tournaments in the near future.” Michael Zwipp

The six newly qualified International referees, in alphabetic order are: Matej Hmaran (Slovakia), Andres Larozza (Paraguay), Maximilian Nitz (Austria), Simin Rezaie Jahdkon (Iran), Deepak Somarapu (United States) and Klara Klara Vaculovicova (Czech Republic).

A balancing act, the art of refereeing (left) and (right) a delighted Simin Rezaie Jahdkon proudly displays her certificate (Photo: courtesy of Michael Zwipp)



Umpires and Referees Michael Zwipp Joe Fisher