23 Jan 2018

An absence of several years since such an initiative had been staged, the Cambodia Table Tennis Federation (CTTF) led by its president, Mr. Rat Sokhorn, recently organized an ITTF Level One Basic Certified Umpires Course; proceedings commenced on Friday 19th January and concluded on Sunday 21st January.

Self-funded, administered under the umbrella of the ITTF Development Programme and with the approval of the ITTF Umpires and Referees Committee, venue for the whole itinerary was the conference room of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Main Building. The premises proved most ideal, all the necessary facilities and equipment were made available.

by Rachel Ramos, Course Conductor and member of the Technical Committee of South East Asian Table Tennis Association

Under the leadership of Mr. Sophoan Buy, the newly appointed CTTF Secretary-General, a total of 23 students from throughout the country attended.

Pertinently Sophoan Buy explained that the main purpose of organizing this seminar was to develop more umpires in the country as they prepare for the 2023 South East Asian Games, regarded as one of the biggest sporting events in the region.

“The Cambodia Table Tennis Federation is bent on increasing the number of qualified umpires and referees in the country; this year we will conduct an International Umpires Examinations. We hope that we will produce new International Umpires. We thank ITTF for supporting us in this goal.” Sophoan Buy

Most of the participants do not have an umpiring background nor had attended an umpiring seminar but a good number played table tennis. Two national coaches along with five national players and three regional players took part in the seminar. Two directors of the CTTF Board were also in attendance.

Notably there was a wide range of ages, the youngest participant was a 15 year old girl, the oldest one a 75 year old man; also there were three converts to the sport. Three university students, Prum Leakhena, Sang Sreynou and Tha That, who originally only came to observe on the first day, eventually attended the whole duration of the seminar. They were delighted to gain knowledge on the rules and regulations of table tennis.

“This seminar got us interested to become match officials for table tennis. We thank Rachel for sharing with us what we need to know about the rules of this sport and also her rich experience in umpiring tournaments.” Prum Leakhena

All three learned quickly but top marks went to Mr. Runnazar Hang, the most successful of the group in the written examination.

“Though many participants had not been trained before to become umpires; they were able to understand the topics discussed by the course conductor. Ms. Ramos is a highly qualified trainer and because of that this seminar has been a success”. Runnazar Hang

A positive response from Mr. Runnazar Hang, it was the same from Teng Samnang, a CTTF Board Member.

“We are thankful to the course conductor for the success of this umpires’ seminar. All participants really learned a lot from Ms. Ramos. I hope she can again come to our country and conduct another officiating course.” Teng Samnang

The Land of Smiles, I had visited twice before; first was in December 2014 as a Deputy Referee for the South East Asian Championships, then again in July 2016 as a Referee at the South East Asian Junior and Cadet Championships. On each visit I have never failed to be amazed by the warmth and hospitality of its people; on each visit I always came home with good memories; this recent umpires’ seminar was no exception.

I was very satisfied with this umpires’ seminar in Phnom Penh. The participants were all enthusiastic and eager to learn. Despite the language barrier, we were able to have fruitful discussions. My thanks to Mr. Sophoan Buy, who acted as translator during the course; also, I commend Mr. Buy and the CTTF for their all-out support from the preparations until the conclusion of the seminar. They were really an ideal organizer and gracious host.

Unfortunately Mr. Rat Sokhorn was out of the country during the seminar. Nevertheless, he spoke to me through a long distance call just to say sorry for his absence and to thank me for coming in for the course.

A total of eight participants qualified as ITTF Basic Certified Umpires.

 Portland – ITTF/PTT Level One Course
Photos: courtesy of Rachel Ramos

Development, Education and Training Cambodia Rachel Ramos