by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Initiated by Werner Thury, Deputy Chair of the ITTF Umpires and Referees Committee, selection was based on performance in recent years; all the umpires possessed the Blue Badge award, the highest in officiating.
Eight were present for the first day of action, six for the second and concluding day.
“We are moving in the right direction. Table tennis is entering a new era. It is a modern sport with excellent marketing possibilities and a high standard of professionalism. As umpires and referees we are part of this development. Our professional performance was another small milestone for our sport and was also acknowledged by organisers. Already in 2018 eight organisers have volunteered to use the new approach.” Werner Thury
The system demands the highest levels; thus just as the players on view prepared for their matches, so did the officials; first in the venue and last out as a team.
Notably the team spirit between the officials was very high, the umpires following a rotational process of officiating alternate matches; therefore throughout a consistent high level was maintained, a fact noted by Georg Silberschmidt, the Tournament Director and Didier Leroy, the Competition Manager.