Nigeria will not only has its players in action at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, two of its foremost umpires, John Peters and Cecilia Arinye have been confirmed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) as match officials for the multi-sports championship in Brazil.
With Aruna Quadri and Funke Oshonaike already confirmed for the Rio Olympic Games, the certified ITTF blue badge umpires, Peters and Arinye will be among the 47 umpires listed by the world table tennis ruling body for the tournament.
Globally, few umpires make it to the Olympic Games but again this has confirmed Nigeria’s relevant in table tennis with Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria being the only countries in Africa having its officials at the games.
Peters, who is among the longest serving umpires in Africa, will officiate at the Olympic Games while Arinye, who is the Director of Sports, University of Lagos will be in action at the Paralympic Games.
The duo has joined the list of few umpires in the world to make it to the Olympic while the late Patience Ikeme-Iwuno was among the four umpires selected from Africa for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Peters, who started his officiating career in the 1970s became an international umpire in 1980 and he has officiated at various African Games including the 2015 edition in Congo Brazzaville was also at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland while Arinye, an ex-international is also an experienced umpire who has officiated in various international tournaments across the globe was also part of the umpire team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Besides Peters and Arinye, Algeria’s duo of Mouhssene Yahia-Cherif and Abdellah Boudjehem will handle proceedings in Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively while Egypt’s pair of Magdy Edriss and ElSaied Ragab will be on duty as well in Brazil.
According to the President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the listing of umpires from Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria again confirmed the giant stride made by these countries in terms of officiating.
For the list of umpires for Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Africa has 3, Europe (7), Asia (6), Latin America (3), North America (2) and Oceania (1) totalling 22 while for the Paralympic Games, Africa (3), Asia (7), Europe (8), Latin America (3), North America (2) and Oceania (2) making it 25 officials.
However, South Africa’s Rodrique Volkwyn is the Deputy Referee for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.