Sammuel Revales concentrating on the ball during a table tennis match at the Menglait Sports Complex in Gadong. BT file
The country's first International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Asia Table Tennis Union (ATTU) Tournament Organisation Course (TOC) kicked off yesterday as Brunei stepped up their preparations to host the 20th South East Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in June.
Held at the Conference Room of the Indoor Stadium at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas, the six-day TOC course is being facilitated by Chan Foong Keong, an ITTF Course Conductor and the secretary general of the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia.
The course will run until Sunday and yesterday's session, which was attended by Brunei Amateur Table Tennis Association (BATTA) members as well as officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Jerudong International School, was focused on officiating table tennis matches.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, BATTA secretary general Anthony Liew said that the association requested that the course be organised in order to ensure that June's regional meet runs smoothly.
"We hosted the Southeast Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship back in 2005 and we had some difficulties in organising it, so we hope this course will help us to plan effectively," said Liew, adding that the course will cover "everything that we need to know to prepare for a table tennis tournament."
"BATTA wrote to the ITTF and ATTU last year to organise this course in Brunei and it was approved earlier this year, (so) we are very happy to have the expert here to help us out," he added.
Chan, meanwhile, stressed the need for all umpires to keep abreast of latest developments in officiating and for them to be given the necessary resources to carry out their job.
"We must make sure that all the umpires have studied the latest ITTF rules and regulations before umpiring matches," he said during the session.
"Umpires must also be able to communicate clearly to the people and it is also important they get some rest between matches - which is why a duty roster should be prepared.
"They must be given all the facilities required in umpiring such as warning cards, toss discs, net height and net tension gauges," added Chan who is also an ITTF Umpire and Referee.
Present at the course's opening as guest of honour was the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Sports, Mariam Ulat.
In a copy of her speech sent to the press by BATTA, Mariam commended the participants for taking time off to learn new skills and procedures.
"In a way, history is being made in sports management," she said of the pioneering course.
"I hope you will make the most of this opportunity to acquire as much information and knowledge so that you will be able to assist in doing a good job hosting the 20th South East Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships.
"You will be working very hard to learn how to organise a major table tennis event (and) this new knowledge will be helpful in the event of Brunei Darussalam hosting an even bigger event such as the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2019," she added.