A young umpire from Darragh Cross in County Down has been named as the first winner of Young Technical Official of the Year, a new category at the Sport NI Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards.
Adam Brown (18), a student at SERC, started his umpiring career at the age of the 15 in local competitions. Although, he did not play table tennis, he developed an appetite for officiating and quickly went on to achieve the County Level Umpire qualification.
In June 2016, he passed the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) International Umpire Examination making him one of the youngest International Umpires in UK and Ireland.
This year he was nominated by Table Tennis Ireland to umpire at the Luxembourg Open in Kirchberg which he attended along with three other adult Irish International Umpires.
He was also selected to officiate at the 2017 UK School Games in Loughborough in England having officiated at the event for the last three years.
Adam said: “I am delighted to have won this award. It is a great honour to receive it.
“My interest in table tennis started when I was at school doing my GCSE’s. I was doing sport and had to select four subject to write on. I chose rugby, badminton, circuits and table tennis. My interest just seemed to grow in table tennis and before long I was involved in refereeing.
“My studies continued on to A-Level and I am now studying ICT at the Downpatrick SERC campus and it is very enjoyable.
“Over the past couple of years I have travelled to Luxembourg and England to cover table tennis matches and I hope to be selected to referee for the Argentinian Youth Olympics in October which would be a tremendous experience.
“I hope to get up to Kingspan in Belfast to shout on the Ulster rugby team later on this week. I’m quite interested in sports generally and my role as a referee in table tennis and possibly other sports could take me places I just dream about.”
Arnold Morgan, Chairman of Table Tennis Ulster said: “As a non-table tennis player, Adam has undertaken a journey which has involved learning the laws and regulations of the sport from scratch as an Umpire. Not only has he achieve County and National Qualifications but has progressed to International Standard. Very few umpires progress to International level given the technical difficulty of the examination.
“Adam has achieved this through study, attending and umpiring at numerous events to gain experience across Ireland, UK and recently in Europe and is at the pinnacle of Table Tennis Umpiring at World Level.”
Adam received his award from Simon Toole, Coaching Consultant at Sport Northern Ireland during the Ulster Open Table Tennis Championships 2017 in the Lisburn Racquets Club on Friday 24th November.
Congratulating Adam on his award, Sport NI Chair, George Lucas said: “Sport NI is delighted to be presenting this award to Adam and to celebrate his contribution to Table Tennis Ulster.
“Officials are at the heart of making sport happen and providing the opportunities for people to compete and enjoy sport. Adam stands out from the crowd in his umpiring role. His commitment to developing his experience and technical knowledge is commendable, and is reflected in his many accomplishments as an official. I congratulate Adam on this COV Award and thank him for his contribution to local sport.”