19 Apr 2018

The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games now just 170 days distant, the Opening Ceremony igniting matters on Saturday 6th October, the curtain closing on Thursday 18th October; a recent table tennis training course for National Technical Officials and International Technical Officials was staged in the South American city.

A two day programme, proceedings commenced on Tuesday 17th and concluded on Wednesday 18th April.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Significantly, the course was led by Ecuador’s Freddy Almendariz. He officiated at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, being a member of the Young Umpires Project; now with wide ranging experience having become a Blue Badge Umpire and International Referee, he is the present day the ITTF Pan American Competition Manager.

Administered under the auspices of the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee and the ITTF Youth Olympic Games Programme, a total of 20 students, 20 men and five women, attended. In addition to Buenos Aires and its suburbs, students from La Pampa and Corrientes were present.

“After receiving the nomination I felt very happy to be part of these Games; most importantly to be a member of a team preparing for the Games.” Freddy Almendariz

Throughout, Freddy Almendariz will work alongside the host nation’s Santiago Mercade, the Table Tennis Events Manager for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

“The two days was an opportunity for all of us because it is not only served for the Games, it also left a legacy for Argentina, a group of young people who can help to us in the future events; we at the Local Organising Committee are really happy because we have attracted young people aged 18 years to 30 years old.” Santiago Mercade

Freddy Almendariz addresses the group (Photo: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz)


Certainly, it would appear there is a dedicated group of young officials who are ready for what is one of the prime events of the year. Notably Maximiliano Moscoso travelled eight hours by bus to Buenos Aires in order to attend the course.

“I am motivated because I want to be part of the Games; not everyone can be part of such an event. My thanks to Freddy Almendariz and Santiago Mercade who were very positive; also my thanks to the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee, the International Table Tennis Federation and the Argentina Table Tennis Federation.” Maximiliano Moscoso

Likewise Camila Mendez, who attended the Basic Umpires Course in 2017 and had impressed Freddy Almendariz.

“I was so anxious to start the course because I wanted to learn more; I felt very comfortable during course, the instructors were friendly all the times. I was able to refresh my knowledge. I would like to be part of these Games and I wish can see my name in the official list of the National Technical Officials in the future.” Camila Mendez

All benefited from the knowledge of Freddy Almendariz and Santiago Mercade; also course members benefited from the presence of the host nation’s José Luis Diaz and Victor Ticacala both Blue Badge International Umpires who had officiated at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It was a very responsive group, all participants wanted to continue working as umpires, we will support them; it will help form a strong umpires’ team for the future.” Victor Ticacala

A positive response from all; it was one that pleased Freddy Almendariz.

“In name of International Table Tennis Federation, I would like to congratulate this group because they were all so enthusiastic; my thanks to the Argentina Olympic Committee, the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee and the Argentina Table Tennis Federation for their support. In particular, my thanks to Santiago Mercade, who took care of all the details for the course.” Freddy Almendariz

It is anticipated that Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee will advise those who attended the course of their functions within the next two weeks.

The participants were: Federico Umana, Samantha Trujillo Palacio, Nicolás Hertzulis, Camila Daniela Méndez, Walter Fernandez, Maximiliano Moscoso, Acosta Rios, Juan Ignacio, German Nahuel Solana, Leandro Groisman, Marcelo Nicolas Santostefano, Santiago Tissembaum, Jonathan David Espinoza, Pablo Patricio Kibisz, Mariano Ezequiel Fernández, Melissa Del Valle Millán Salazar, Iñaki Javier Diaz, Iosu Fermin Diaz, Luis Fernando Greco, Maria Clara Mercade, María Pía Zarauza, Matias Ezequiel Vilte Bosch, Nahuel Dario Fernandez, Nahuel Sculco, Santiago Majorani and Gabriel Zaretzky.

Santiago Mercade (left) and (right) Freddy Almendariz, the principal speakers at the Technical Officials course (Photo: courtesy of Freddy Almendariz)
Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Freddy Almendariz Santiago Mercade

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Day 9 - Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games