28 Aug 2019

Commencing on Thursday 22nd August, organised by the Umpires and Referees Committee (URC) of the International Table Tennis Federation, in liaison with the Japanese Table Tennis Association, Osaka was the home for a four day International Referees (IR) School.

The meeting rooms in the Kanku Joytel Hotel in Izumisano City provided the venue; a total of 10 candidates from Asia, Europe and America took part; seven men and three women attended.

by Professor C.K. Chan, URC Expert

Experts on duty were Singapore’s Ronald Wee and myself.

Proceedings started with a warm welcome from Mr. Yukito Seta, representing the Japanese Table Tennis Association (JTTA).

“JTTA is proud to support the URC in the development umpires and referees. I hope the participants will gain more knowledge and a referee’s way of thinking through this International Referee School and improve themselves as umpires and referees.” Yukito Seta

Paying attention, ready to start (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


Mr. Atsushi Hasegawa of the Umpires and Referees Committee of Japanese Table Tennis Association provided support to the candidates of the School.

“It is our responsibility to contribute to the ITTF in supporting the IR School. It is our expectation to train promising International Umpires and National Referees through training courses like the IR School to bring a breath of fresh air into not only their own association but also the world of table tennis”. Atsushi Hasegawa

Conducting the draw (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


Before and during the IR School, much of the coordination was organised by Mr. Yukito Seta, a familiar International Referee from Japan and Ms. Nobuko Onita from the Secretariat of JTTA.

Similar to previous IR Schools, proceedings involved active participation of the candidates on rules interpretation, conduct of draws, scheduling of matches and, most importantly, role play as a referee. During the intensive study and overnight assignments, candidates gained experience in becoming an active referee.

Role play was a major factor during the course (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


General feedback from the candidates was very positive.

“It inspired me a lot during the lessons……there was so much new and invaluable information obtained by experience, available only during the course……the content of the IR school is full of knowledge and it opened my eyes and mind……I feel lucky to have the opportunity to participate in such a high level of study……it was a good experience to meet referees from other countries and to learn more about what it takes to be an International Referee……the class was perfect, including sharing a lot of knowledge and information that really made us think regarding the Referee’s duties……during the School, there are opportunities to discuss about possibilities and options on issues that referees must be aware of……honestly, I really enjoyed my time in Osaka”. Feedback from candidates

Intense group discussion was very much in evidence (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)


One of the objectives of the school is to qualify new IRs. Assessment included pre-school homework, overnight assignment on the first day of the school, comprehensive written tests, performance during the school and an individual oral interview. As a result of the assessments, one candidate passed and is now qualified as International Referees.

She is Canada’s Erica Ans; she becomes the first female International Referee from Canada and indeed the second female International Referee from the Continent of North America.

Many congratulations to Erica. We look forward to seeing her in many future ITTF tournaments.

The end of course examination (Photo: courtesy of C.K. Chan)
Umpires and Referees Osaka