09 Apr 2019

South Africa’s Claire Fransman and China’s Lin Li, alongside England’s Nico Caltabrano and Lebanon’s Rabih El Mel are the latest officials to gain the Blue Badge, the highest award in umpiring.

Published by the Umpires and Referees Committee of the International Table Tennis Federation, they are the names who qualified during the period Tuesday 1st January to Sunday 31st March.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Overall, the total now reads 279 such officials; Asia and Europe boasting the largest numbers. Currently for Asia there are 117 Blue Badge Umpires listed, for Europe it is just five less, the total is 112 in number.
Meanwhile, for North America, the sum reads 17 owners of the highest award, 16 for Africa, 12 for Latin America and five for Oceania.

In terms of national associations, there are eight in double figures. China with 28 Blue Badge Umpires leads the way, next in line is Japan with 20 overall. They are followed by 17 for each of Germany and India. The Korea Republic has one less with 16 officials; the total is 15 for Russia, whilst for Hong Kong and the United States it is 10 each.

All are proud to sit in the best seat in the house and although the daily allowance received has increased and on some occasions for the most prestigious matches, travel expenses are paid; these people are inherently volunteers.

Some may just at times become a trifle too zealous but the vast majority conduct proceedings in a calm and unobtrusive manner. Most importantly, in addition to giving their time freely to officiate, more often than not they pay their own travel expenses; they willingly contribute to the benefit of the sport.

So both congratulations to all on being members of a very special group that possesses the highest award and a vote of thanks for the contribution made to the sport of table tennis.

ITTF Umpires & Referees Committee: Blue Badge Umpires (Tuesday 9th April)

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