He said the SATTB chose to conduct the workshops on a digital platform and these were held on the two Saturday’s preceding the examination date.
These workshops lasted an average of eight hours.
“The journey to become an (International Table Tennis Federation [ITTF] International Umpire) for table tennis is not a path that one chooses but rather a calling. It often involves the evolution of players into technical officials. It is by no means an easy path,” he said
“It is also noteworthy,” he said, “that four of the candidates obtained results in the 90 percentile range.
“Bear in mind, only 13 candidates passed nationally,” said Baig.
Duinefontein Table Tennis Club chairman, Wafeeq Domingo is among the officials who passed his exams.
Despite not having had much exerience as an umpire, Domingo pulled it off to become a nationally accredited umpire.
“Umpiring is really not my thing. I’m usually the guy controlling the umpire,” he said.
Fellow match official Craig Zimri, representing Mitchell’s Plain Royals Table Tennis Club, emerged top of the class with a 94% pass.
He said he now owns what is known as a White Badge qualification that allows him to perform duty at international events.
“Hopefully, in a few years time, I can have a go at earning my Blue Badge, which would allow me to officiate at the Olympics,” he said.
Ultimately, nine out of 10 candidates from clubs across the city, passed their exams, with one dropping out due to a bad internet connection, said CTT umpires convenor, Genevieve Lentz, from Bonteheuwel.
Lentz, who obtained her international umpires qualification in 2006, knows all too well about the stresses of preparing for these exams.
However, she is also very much aware of the rewards that come with obtaining the necessary credits to officiate at the highest level.
In 2017 she became the first female table tennis referee in Africa and did duty at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games in Beijing and London, respectively.
Since then she’s made it her mission to encourage others to follow suit. As part of a plan to develop umpires in Cape Town, she conducted various workshops prior to the lockdown.
“Subsequently, the SA Table Tennis Board asked me to conduct level 3 and 4 umpires courses to prepare the candidates for the International Umpires exam,” she said.