ATTU “Aim for the Stars” URC Course in Bhutan
Located at the heart of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan is the home for a Basic Umpire, Basic Referee and Tournament Organiser Course. Venue of the courses was in the building of the National Table Tennis Training Centre of the Bhutan Table Tennis Federation. The courses were organised by the Bhutan Table Tennis Federation together with and funded by the ATTU’s “Aim for the Stars” Programme and supported by the Bhutan Olympic Committee. Proceedings commenced on Tuesday 11th February 2020, with the Basic Umpire Course and Basic Referee Course each lasting for two and a half days, immediately followed by a two-day Tournament Organiser Course, concluded on Monday 17th February 2020. The expert on duty appointed by ATTU was its Chairman of the Technical and Umpire Committee C.K. Chan from Hong Kong.
A total of 10 candidates participated in each of the courses, including one young female student from Thimphu. While most of the candidates came from Thimphu, two came from Phuentshoting, which is about 175 km south of Thimphu. The series of courses was the first of such courses organised by the Bhutan Table Tennis Federation.
On Day 1, Mr. Karma Tshering, General Secretary of Bhutan Table Tennis Federation came and gave his opening remarks. Apart from thanking the ATTU for its support, he also provided many supporting words to the candidates. The Opening was also joined by Mr. Kesong Phuntsho, Programme Officer of the Bhutan Olympic Committee. When asked about his expectation of the courses, Mr. Tshering replied
“My expectation is to see the trainees learn about the basic table tennis umpiring, refereeing and to organise tournament so that in the near future, they can be sent to different districts in Bhutan to conduct such courses. In the longer term, I would like to see them becoming National Umpires and National Referees so as to sit for the International Umpire and International Referee examinations, thereby having the opportunity to go as Umpires and Referees at international tournaments of ATTU and ITTF.”
These were words of encouragement and motivation to all the participants. They underlined the great value of such a course, whilst also looking forward to the future with a sense of hope and anticipation.
Many of the participants were young and have not had any formal training as technical officials. However, they seized the opportunity, asked many questions and took part in all the practical sessions and group discussions to maximise benefits. All the participants were eager to learn to acquire the knowledge and skills in becoming a technical official of table tennis. During the week, many of the candidates expressed that they hope to be able to learn and also pass on their knowledge to other members of their schools and clubs.
Aside from the group work during the class, participants also had homework which they then presented the following day.
Both the Basic Umpire Course and basic Referee Course concluded with written examinations and practical assessments. As a result of examinations at the end of the Umpire and Referee Courses, all 10 candidates passed the examinations respectively and were awarded ITTF “Certified Basic Umpire” and ITTF“Certified Basic Referee” certificates. Significantly, one of the candidates, Mr. Subba Hem Raj, a school teacher from Phuentshoting attained the perfect score in the Basic Referee examination, an excellent performance indeed. Many congratulations.