VANUATU Table Tennis Federation’s Pareina Matariki from Emae Island has been awarded an ITTF-Oceania Umpiring Scholarship.
In a letter send from ITTF-Oceania to VTTF it stated that the umpire’s scholarship assists with the transition of umpires from community level to high performance.
It said that each scholarship is worth AU$1000 and must be used to attend the ITTF-Oceania Championships on Gold Coast from March 15-19.
The funds will be used by ITTF-Oceania to cover airfares, accommodation and meals. Furthermore Ms Matariki will receive a per diem for five days of competition for all incidentals.
Annoline Lulu, Vanuatu Table Tennis Federation’s top national player, said this is the first time a VTTF technical official was awarded a scholarship or funding.
She said Ms Matariki will likely be an umpire during the Oceania Championship from March 15-19.
Ms Matariki was an umpire during the Van2017 Pacific Mini-Games in Vanuatu last December.
“This is a big achievement for VTTF because we never have umpires, and we never had a scholarship for an umpire. This opens a door for technical officials. It is through the Pacific-Mini Games, Pareina will officiate in the Oceania Championship,” Ms Lulu said.
“We are so proud and happy for ITTF-Oceania to be able to choose Vanuatu and get a technical official from Vanuatu to be an umpire in Oceania.
“Maybe other sports already have umpires before the Mini-Games but VTTF has never had any umpires. It was through the Games that it can now have umpires and it has started everything for us. We now have players, technical officials and volunteers.’’
The Pacific Mini-Games Table Tennis Competition was also the first regional competition for Vanuatu Table Tennis to organise.
Ms Lulu said this was also a huge achievement for them. In the past they only have had the players. Now they have expanded to umpires or technical officials and volunteers through the Pacific Mini-Games. The technical delegate asked for VTTF to get 12 local umpires for the Mini-Games.
“We have organised an umpires training and identified 12 of them. And the 12 sat the exams and six passed the exams. But the technical delegate said it does not matter and that all of them will be umpires during the Mini-Games. Unfortunately one went back to the Islands and only 11 attended the Mini-Games. Out from the 11, three of them came from the outer islands,” she said.
“We can now count on them to be umpires in future competitions. The umpires were teachers, parents and families of players and some are interested table tennis fans and players,” Ms Lulu said.