INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS COMMITTEE
FOR THE DISABLED
Name of Tournament / Championships : World Open LA LOUVIERE
Ranking Factor Applied for : 30
Responsible Federation : Nico VERSPEELT
Chairman of Organising Committee : Nico VERSPEELT
Dates of Play : 4-6 November 1999
Name of Technical Delegate : Vincent BOURY
Report submitted to IPC and ITTC the : 30 November 1999
Version : 2.0
Tournament for wheelchairs and standing players: 225 players
9 different sites, for players, staff, organizers, and umpires ad referees: 350 persons.
Centre Saint Vaast: most of wheelchairs (about 80) at this place, and 40 standing people.
- not enough toilets for wheelchairs at each stair: 2 stairs, 3 toilets at each level, one toilet at the level 0 (welcoming, place for eating)
- 3 bathrooms at each stairs too: not accessible enough, depending of level of disability
- some rooms were welcoming 4 players: not comfortable, depending of the rhythm of each person for toilet, time to sleep, to get up…
- not enough warm water: some people had only cold water, if not within the first people for washing morning and evening
- no water in most of rooms, but some common lavatories. Not appreciated by girls, who had to arrange toilets/washing in a mixed area.
- the center was closed from 10 am to 5 pm: seemed fot participants to be not safe or comfortable in case of problems. RQ= some problems occurred, but were solved by organising staff, in their own house.
- Only 1 lift, but worked well, no bottle-neck
Other places were OK.
But in one case, some people complained they were too many in the same area: 11 people in the same ‘studio’.
No training tables available during the competition.
Hall 1:16 tables
Ground in linoleum.
play areas 8.50*4m, for standing and some classes in wheelchair. For standing players, that were too small areas. (cf. Remark 1)
- No separations between tables in the same length.
- One disturbing problem was the number of "let" due to small and non closed areas: balls in the areas, doubles using too much space.
- 2 toilets for wheelchairs had been rent
Hall 2: 9 tables
- Better conditions: closed areas, good size for players in wheelchair.
- During classification days, noticed some few details, that was changed before the competition (light, doors, alleys)
- Only 1 toilet for wheelchair in the hall
2 toilets for wheelchairs were in the building between the 2 halls.
Not many players received this information, that was given during the meeting for nations.
Cold and hot water available in both halles.
Lunches were organised in 2 halles during the competition:
- Cold lunch: sandwiches, made daily (fresh)
- Quality and quantity : not considered as enough by some players
- (all ITTF approved)
- 25 Tables
- Balls (3*) white
- Surroundings Score boards
- container for towel
- Wednesday 3th: Arrival, classifications
- Thursday 4th: Team event, 8.00 a.m. till 10.p.m.
- Friday 5th:Team Finals, 8.00 a.m. till 12.00 a.m.
- Medal Ceremony 13.30 p.m. (delayed to wait the end of class 3 women)
- Single event 3.00 p.m. till 10.00 p.m. some problems occur about the final table, where Some mistakes were made. Some time needed so that the referree made the final adjustements. (cf. Remark 2)
- Saturday 6th: Single Finals, 8.00 a.m. till 11.30 a.m.
- Open event, 12.00 a.m. till 6.30 p.m.
- Single and Open Medal Ceremony 8.30 p.m.(Banquet)
RQ= normally, in such a ranked tournament, some doubles are mandatory. We did not organised the events. Nobody claimed about that decsision…
5-Number of Participants
Number of escorts: 70
Total = about 350
RQ= some Belgian players or staff were sleeping at home.
So, people really involved = about 330
- Transport from airport/station to accomodation: good and punctual
- Transport between accomodations and venue : some schedule was prepared for all nations, explaining when and where were planed all transports. Very efficient, and organised. Even when the events were delayed, the organisers managed some extra transports late in the evening.
- There was the possibility to use transports to go the town for shopping, or tourism; not often used, but comfortable for players or staff with few matches.
- RQ= that was a big challenge to manage transports in such a complex environment: nb of participants, nb of places for accomodation, etc.
- classifiers: Art KRUIMER, Jorgend ANDERSEN, Ton BROUWER.
- Referee: RENE MARINUS (BEL)
- Deputy referees: Jean Claude PILLET (Hall 1) – Willy ABSIL (Hall 2)
- Umpire’s reponsible: Michel GEORGES
- Number of umpires (cf. Remark 3): 39
- Technical meeting for team captains: 3 nov 99, Leaded by Nico and I
- Meeting for referees: 3 nov, leaded by R. Marinus and M. Georges
- Draw meetings : 4 nov, 5 nov.: I proposed to use the ‘snake-system’, which was appreciated by everybody: known system, easy to check using the ranking list, no time lost for draws that could delay the competition, etc.
- Players meeting: canceled twice, because of events delayed. Small comitee organised last evening (cf. Remark 4)
Basic rule used: if more than 5 players or teams in one class, then no round robins with more than 4 players. Ex: 10 players, 2 groups of 3, 1 group of 4.
Merge of 2 classes in team event for women, after having asked to all countries concerned.
We used the snake system, based on ranking list to make all the tables and draws. We earned lots of time, energy, and coaches and players could plan very early their schedule for matches.
classification for 9 players, all classified in expected classes.
3 classifiers: Art KRUIMER, Jorgend ANDERSEN, Ton BROUWER.
Ton BROUWER was not able to come. Art came for the evening, and had to leave because of his flight for PanAm Games. Nico VERSPEELT helped for classification.
- All results were daily computed, and all countries got the results during the banquet.
- We checked with Nico the version and way of using the last official form for results dedicated to Gael.
- Last explanation confirmed in Dublin. Nico started there with local Vince’support, and finished at home. Gael received all results in right delay.
Lots of work, lots of people, many things to manage for this huge organisation:
- No details explained here about all teams, and sub-comittees for each task
- Of course, daily some organising problems occur
- Globally, the staff was enough
- there was a big lack!
- People from organising comitee, staff, etc. had to help
13-Any Other Matter
Well, the challenge as TD for this competition was high. I got exhausted and realized that some points have to be improved in my mind. I don’t mean only about the organisation, but also about the definition of ITTC responsabilities.
Please consider the following remarks, and give some feed-backs.
There were some pre-visits done by ITTC, which approved the playing conditions, knowing that it would be a problem. Maybe it was a mistake, or at least, participants should have been more informed of the real conditions for playing.
Nico Verspeelt agreed to consider all entries so that the tournament was really an "open", and stay fair, with no pre-selection.
The competition in hall 1 was really uncomfortable for all players. But it was not possible to welcome every players applying to the tournament, and to give good conditions to players.
- Limitation of number of players: definitly touchy… who would decide who can come??? For information, lots of people agree that this is a possible solution, but when precisely asked, they all planed that the players who would not come are others…
- Limitation of events: organising tournaments ranked 30 only for wheelchairs, or standings, and/or some classes? To be discussed in tournament sub-comitee.
Proposal 2 :
- For such an important tournament, no quality can be reached with so many players, events, and so few days (only 3!). One day should be added.
- Day 1: classifications
- Day 2: contests for classification, end latest classifications
- Day 2: from noon, to evening: Open event
- Day 3 to 5 : team events, single events.
For such an important event, referees should be more prepared.
- For the schedule and tables layout, Nico prepared very well and precisely everything.
- Some changes were made (merge of classes, people not here, classifications), that we adapted with Nico, so that the competition could be leaded in time.
- All that huge work was presented to referee, but in a way ‘to much well prepared’, so that everything was approved, without some added job from his part.
- The problems occurred when one deputy referee got submerged by the work to do, at the end of round robins in wheelchair single events. Because he was not prepared to the complexity of many tables, and the referee not aware enough of all details, he preferred to re-do all the work we had done during the previous nights Nico and I (well, mainly Nico). Instead of being adapted, the work was done another time, in emergency, and that was worst!
- Furthermore, and it is a very important point:
at this moment, I could have made the change very quickly. Because we worked a long time on all draws and tables, I was aware of all the problems which occurred. But the deputy referee in Hall 2 did not trust in my competency as TD to do the changes. It was a nightmare! the solution was so obvious –and already prepared the night before- using the snake system, and we (coaches, players, and I) had to wait for the referee to come and to do again the tables. He managed very well the crisis, in the way all his decisions were applied with authority, but he did that in emergency, so some –small- mistakes were done again.
- I have to precise that the referee was really good to manage the situation, and it could probably have been worst with someone not competent or authoritative enough.
- ITTC umpires should be known, and always invited when possible. They are normally better qualified, and should be good to explain to their colleagues
- Why not give a list to all organisers prior to the tournament? And what about such an information on the web-site?
- Umpires were not prepared enough to the specificity of such an event for disabled players: many events, no rest time enough, etc.
- What about a small hand-book or a few documents that could be sent to all of them, before the competition if the referees are known before, or at least before the events start if they do not come some days before. The document could contain some shemas about service for players in wheelchair, short explanation about classes, etc.
- I wished to organise a players meeting. It was twice cancelled, cause the competition was delayed, and it was too late.
- The second time it was cancelled, I organised later in the evening a small unformal meeting with players brave enough for staying late. I had prepared a ’package’ that I was thinking important to be transmitted to all players: ITTC news, current ’real’ list of contacts of all players, some points to be discussed for the future (ranking, doubles, tournaments, etc.)
- 4 nice guys distributed personnally it to all players the day after.
- I was a little bit desappointed that what I organised had to be cancelled: I lost some trust from some players. Some were also focused to the fact I was both player and TD. Sure, not the best position for me. They easilly forgot that even with a double position, my single goal was to make the best for the competitors and organisation. Well, some prefer to stay focused on processes instaed of results, not really efficient in my mind. But that is an other point.
What was negative is that because of some delay in events schedule, I did not manage attended meeting, and got considered as not reliable.
- I was suggested not trying to gather all players at this moment, but to start with a small comitee, easier to manage, and enough to begin. Endly, during the buffet, I started to build "a player-oriented task force" with people involved in working really to bring pertinent proposal on board.
I think we did a good work with Nico before and during the competition. Nico and all his staff made a huge work. That was not easy for me to be designed a few days before such an important event. It was not easy for him neither…
I spent lots of time and energy receiving all critics, complains about the tournament. At least, I was "filtering" all that negative inputs all days long, that let to Nico some resources to take care more quietly about the global organisation.
But that made me discover a critical point:
Who knows what is a TD ?
I was impressed by this fact: the role, responsabilities, competencies of the TD are ignored. Not totally of course, but enough so that it is very hard to be efficient as TD.
How can the TD make a good job, when people he has to work with don’t even know what is the job????
I had the same problem when being TD in Dublin, and let me confess that it was really disapointing to realize this: The TD has a critical job to do with everything involved in a competition so that the competition is as good as possible. But in both cases (Dublin and La Louviere) I could not do the good job I wished, just because basic definitions of TD role had never been precisely established with organisers.
In a result, I spent many hours trying to explain some standards about what should be expected –in my mind- from a TD. Then sometimes I wasted resources in explanations instead of improvments when possible.
We spent some dedicated moments with Nico Verspeelt and Clare O’Neill about that point, and I asked them to make a report, from their point of view, with the main idea
"what do you expect from a TD, when you are responsible for an international tournament?"
I hope it will help for the future.