Karen Tonge will be the Deputy Referee at the LIEBHERR Men's World Cup
Photo By: Courtesy of Russell Moore
A once in a lifetime opportunity; perhaps in England, the once in a lifetime opportunity comes twice, in fact it comes within the period of less than two months.
The table tennis events at the Olympic Games concluded in the ExCeL arena in east London on Wednesday 8th August 2012; now eyes turn north-west to the city of Liverpool for the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup.
It is the first time since the tournament was inaugurated in Hong Kong in 1980 that England has staged the event.
Proceedings will commence in the Echo Arena on Friday 28th September and will conclude on two days later on Sunday 30th September.
Players, coaches, officials and table tennis enthusiasts in general wait with baited breath for the event to start; just like the Olympic Games it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
A special occasion and for three local people in particular the tournament has a special significance.
Karen Tonge MBE, from the Liverpool suburb of Runcorn will be the Deputy Referee whilst Tom Purcell and Stan Clarke, both from the city itself, will be umpiring at the event.
“This is special honour to be selected by the International Table Tennis Federation to be the Deputy Referee at the Men’s World Cup, a very prestigious event on the ITTF calendar”, said Karen Tonge, who qualified as an International Umpire in 1988 and International Referee in 1997.
“It is an amazing opportunity to be given by the ITTF and ETTA”, she continued. “It is a rare occasion to officiate at this level in one’s own country and as North West Regional Chairman of ETTA it is proud occasion, which I will remember for a long time.”
A Real Bonus
Equally Tom Purcell, who has been playing table tennis since he was 12 and was on duty at the recent Olympic Games in addition to having officiated at the European Championships and last year’s LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup, was equally enthusiastic about the opportunity.
“Umpiring in my own city is a real bonus”, he said. “Seeing such a major event in Liverpool allows the people and players of Merseyside and the north-west to see the world’s top players and allows the spectators to see the standard required for umpires to work at such events; hopefully such a prestigious event in our area will encourage new, younger people to become umpires.”
Hopes for Full House
Equally Stan Clarke, whose initial interest was in coaching before becoming an umpire was of a similar opinion, hoping that the full houses witnessed at the ExCeL Arena will be replicated in the Echo Arena.
“I am delighted that an event of this importance is being held in my home area”, he said. “I only hope that the local players respond by attending in great numbers.”
Traditionally, Liverpool and the north-west has been a hotbed of sport and rarely is the chance afforded, in any part of the world, to see the world’s greatest players in action in consecutive months.
A once in a lifetime opportunity, it is that, most certainly.