Name of Tournament / Championships : African/Middle East Champs.

Ranking Factor Applied for : 50

Name of Responsible Federation : NAPCOSA

Chairman of Organizing Committee : Alison Burchell

Dates of Play : Nov 25 – Dec 2, 1999

Name of Technical Delegate : Jiri Danek

Report submitted to IPC and ITTC the : January 22, 2000

I. Accommodation

All the participants of the Championship stayed at the hotels Holiday Inn, Garden Court***. They had room, bathroom and restaurant at their disposal, the outside area and pool were barrier-free for wheelchairs.

Thanks to the two large, quick elevators that were in continuous operation, there were no problems moving between the floors.

Breakfast in the hotel was of very good quality, lunch and dinner were held at the site of the sport halls. The food there was quite simple, but enough.

The area around the hotel was fenced in and guarded 24 hours a day.

II. Venue

The hall was located in the Mandeville Sports Club. There were no problems for wheelchairs to access the entire site.

The floor in the hall – linoleum (changes in the surface will be discussed later in the text), which was adequately flexible and not slippery for all categories of players. One small bother was the many lines on it used for other types of sports.

Lighting– the intensity of the lamps was enough and in accordance with ITTF Rules. There was no sunlight on any of the tables used in the play.

Seating for spectators – there were 200 seats in the hall for spectators and walking participants of the Championship.

Wheelchairs were given a space on the floor.

Referee table – it was located in the center rear of the longer side of the hall. Besides the referee and deputy referees, the control table manager and his assistant worked there and their responsibility was putting information into the computer and managing the score board.

Meetings, training and room for officials – it was a large, well-furnished space with a glass window looking out to the playing area. The organizers provided continuous refreshments there.

Practice facilities – there were six tables for play directly on the playing surface and two for training, with a divider between the sections. Another four warm-up tables were in a smaller hall, located 50m from the main hall.

III. Equipment

Tables – six playing + six warm-up tables under the brand SPONETA – AUTO COMPACT 7 – 42 (*)

Net/post – JOLLA WM

Scorers - JOLLA

Balls - PEACE *** yellow

Surroundings - JOLLA

(*) The tables were delivered at the last minute before the Championship and the supplier failed to maintain the proper distance of the leg from the back of the playing table ( Rules ITTC ). The distance was only 350 mm. This problem was managed at the meeting for country managers – further in the text.

IV. Competition days

There were four playing days from November 28. to December 1, 1999.

Time schedule

29.11.1999 TEAM EVENTS
30.11.1999 CLASS SINGLES
1.12.1999 CLASS SINGLES – match finals

It was different than the program in the contract, but we changed it according to a decision from ITTC.

V. Number of Participants

Number of wheelchairs 33

Number of standing 18

Number of escorts and team officials 19

Total number 70

This number was provided by e-mail on 28.11.1999 as the definitive number of participants for payment of the Capitation fee to IPC headquarters in Bonn. The e-mail was acknowledged by me.

VI. Transport

A minibus outfitted for wheelchairs operated between the hotel and the hall. During the tournament it ran according to the needs of the participants.

In accordance with the contract, a private car was at the disposition of the TD and referee the whole time.

VII. Officials

Invited classifiers - Dr. Aart Kruimer (the Netherlands)

Margita Homolova ( Slovakia )

Three classifiers from South Africa and Jordan assisted during the classification of the players.

Referee - Richard Scruton, ITTF Referee ( England )

Deputy referees - Rodrique Volkwyn, ITTF Referee ( South Africa )

Ted Riese, ITTF Umpire ( South Africa )

There were 21 umpires at the tables, five of whom were ITTF Umpires. The organizers invited umpires from all the participating countries, as well as other countries in Africa and the Middle East, but despite this none came.

VIII. Meetings

The official Manager’s meeting was held on the day before the start of the competition, 27.11.199. In attendance were:

TD, Referee, both deputy referees and delegate leaders from all six participating countries – Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Nigeria and South Africa.

Representing the Organization committee ( LOC ): Chairperson Alison Burchell and Competition Manager Cliff Crook.

At the meeting, the leaders were acquainted with all the important points of organization of the forthcoming Championship, including all problems. There were six requests for help and in each case the organizers provided what was necessary!

In addition to this main meeting, another four meetings were called during the Championship to manage problems that had arisen. All the leaders, the TD, Referee and members of the Organization committee participated in each.

A meeting for umpires with the referee took place before the competition. At this meeting, Richard Scruton conducted training on departures from Rules ITTF. At the close of the Championship, the umpires with qualifications took an examination for certified Umpire ITTC.

IX. Draw

Draws were conducted in three stages:

27.11.1999 drawing Open singles and doubles
28.11.1999 drawing team competition
29.11.1999 drawing Singles in classes

The Referee conducted each drawing in the presence of the TD and one Deputy referee according to Rules ITTF and ITTC. At each were the managers of all the participating countries. Time specifications of the drawn competitions were on time and at the disposition of the individual delegations.

X. Classification

A total of 37 athletes were classified. Seven athletes were re-classified.

Assisting the official classifiers during individual classifications were Aart Kruimer and Margit Homolova.

There were another four classifiers. Observations of players for specific classification was done either directly at the table or by means of a window in the board room, where a seminar for classifiers was conducted that led to the playing floor. There were ten participants at the seminar.

Of this number, five reached the status of "trainee" and five the level of „junior classifier". At the end of the seminar certificates were given to nine of the participants. Names and addresses are available from Dr. Kruimer.

Dr. Kruimer evaluated the conditions for classification and rated the seminar as very good. The site for classification had one place with a table for table tennis for direct classification and another two places for physical examinations.

The seminar was valued not only for the complex furnishings for instruction, but also for the refreshments and the window to the playing space for observing classified players.

According to his opinion, the participants were excellent students who tried their best to learn.

XI. Results

During the course of individual competitions, results were posted by hand on the general board for participants and spectators. The leaders of the delegations had the results of the previous day every morning in their mailboxes at the information center.

Deputy referee Roderique Volkwyn was responsible for the computer work and results. The leaders likewise received all the results in book-form at the final dinner.

During the tournament Roderique worked with Gael Marziou on preparing results to send by e-mail in the correct format. The complete results were sent out by Gael within a week after the close of the tournament.

XII. Other matters

English was the basic language of communication during the tournament. Each delegation had someone fluent in the language, with the exception of Coté d´Ivoire. Their members communicated only in French. Helping them as an interpreter was Alison Bourchell.

There were 33 ballgirls and ball boys wearing special T-shirts. The umpires also had their own special clothing.

XIII. Additional matters

Johannesburg was the location of the first ever African/Middle East Championship. The number of participating countries and athletes was the lowest this year for regional championship, but was still just as important as the others.

The organizers tried their best to prepare the proper means and technical conditions in order to make it happen.

Some problems occurred just before the tournament or during it (among them – the Teraflex surface was not delivered, a slightly different type of table was delivered, the electricity was out for several hours, because of a strong storm, etc.). The organizers had to manage them as they occurred, sometimes with improvisation.

Fortunately the team of organizers, working with the referee and deputy referee, managed everything. All matches were completed regularly and on time. Medals for the winners, including special plaques for teams, were handed out and all participants received a beautiful card noting participation.

Helping the organizers with many problems were the managers of the individual countries. I can say that I have never yet experienced such excellent cooperation. It can also be said that this Championship was carried out in a most friendly atmosphere the whole time.

Opening ceremonies were held on 27.11.1999 at five o’clock and lasted a half-hour as was planned. The individual delegations entered to music and behind their flags. The umpires also entered. The ceremonies were opened by Mr. Andy Scott , Chief Executive Officer of NAPCOSA. A prayer was conducted by an imam. Displays of play were presented.

Official representatives of several participating countries ere in attendance.

Medals ceremonies were well organized and had all the requirements, including national anthems and flags of the winners. Individual members and trainers of the teams received medals, winning teams received in addition a special plaque. Awards were also given to officials of NAPCOSA and LOC, as well as the referees and TD.

All of this was possible with the help of the small children who handed out the medals. They gave the ceremony a very sweet atmosphere.

The action at the tables was kept posted on the scoreboard, big enough and located next to the referee table. It always displayed current information on what was being played at which table, plus names and countries. It could be seen throughout the entire hall and that is why it was a good source for information.

Drinking refreshments in the hall were provided by two means. One was water available in plastic bottles, the other was name-brand fruit drink available in front of the hall.

Sponsors of the Championship took part not only in opening and closing ceremonies, but some of the stayed to watch the program. It could be seen that they were cooperating with NAPCOSA regularly.

Closing ceremonies like the opening were staged on the playing floor. All participating teams entered with full complement. The main appearance was by the president of NAPCOSA, Mr. Peter Goldhawk. Also appearing were the head members of LOC, the TD and the leaders of the individual countries. After a very nice, short program, the organizers gave out original souvenir gifts not only to the leaders of the delegations, but also to the Referee, Deputy Referees, TD and classifiers. A farewell dinner held outside the hall nicely closed the Championship.

Medical services were well provided in cooperation with the local hospital, from where an ambulance with a doctor would arrive in the shortest time in case of need. In addition, there was constant medical service in the hall.

Final evaluations - The entire organizing committee ( LOC ) worked very hard during the course of the Championship.

The most important of course was the activity of the management:

Mrs. Alison Burchell – Chairperson

Mrs. Iris Cunningham – secretary of LOC

Mr. Cliff Crooks –Competition Manager

Mr. Graham Hall – all technical problems

Mr. Martin Bennett –control table manager

While Alison and Iris worked on all phases of the tournament long before and during it, Cliff, Martin and Graham provided everything for the tournament itself. Besides the hard work done without regard to time, they improvised well and often that was extremely important. Everyone worked well not only with the TD, Referees and classifiers, but also with the leaders of the teams, which proved to be very important as well.

Now that the Championship is over, I can say that the organizers handled the difficult conditions very well. They fulfilled all the important conditions of the contract, which Christian Lillieroos concluded on behalf of ITTC, although we still have not fulfilled the grant of USD 1 500,-, which we should quickly take care of.

There will definitely be another Championship for Africa/ Middle East and they deserve much more as a conclusion to their first Championship. The enthusiasm of all the participants convinced me.

Jiri Danek

Technical Delegate of ITTC