Whitehorse Daily Star

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DECIDING SERVE, SIDE – New N.W.T. table tennis umpire Sheri Olsen flips a coin to decide who serves and who gets which side during the 2018 N.W.T School Table Tennis Championships in Yellowknife. Photo by THORSTEN GOHL

Territories get a new table tennis official

Table tennis has had a busy week.

By Whitehorse Star on January 11, 2019

Table tennis has had a busy week. On the weekend the team from the Northwest Territories visited Whitehorse to take part in training clinics with the Table Tennis Yukon Team. It was the first time the teams have come together to practice.

The training sessions were one step in growing the sport in the territories. Although the two territories will eventually become competitors when they see each other across the table at the Canada Winter Games or the Arctic Games, in the meantime the goal of N.W.T. coach Thorsten Gohl, and echoed by Yukon coach Kevin Murphy, is to bring the three territories together as Team North.

Team North is a shared style of play and conduct that the northern teams can adopt and be known positively for when representing their respective territory.

Table tennis in the territories, especially in N.W.T., took another step forward in growing the sport as there is a new territorial umpire for table tennis. The N.W.T. team is three years old.

Murphy says this is a big step the sport in N.W.T.

“It is one step closer, another step for them developing,” said Murphy. “They are looking to host the Canadian Paralympic Championships in the fall, then the Canadian Championships and then the Canadian Junior Open.

Murphy says there were two table tennis umpires in the Yukon but one is semi-retired and does not do many competitions anymore. Brian Stuart the only active umpire in the territories up until Sunday, is now joined by Sheri Olsen.

The following was submitted by Thorsten Gohl.

Congratulations to Olsen from Fort Smith in becoming a Territorial Umpire for the Northwest Territories in table tennis.

“I am always up for a challenge and trying new things. Table tennis is a growing sport in the North and it seems to be the right fit. It was a great weekend and having some insight and directions from an international and experienced Canada Winter Games official was fantastic. Brian and Team Yukon were great and I am very thankful for their support.”

Olsen only started with table tennis in 2018 but quickly learned about the sport. She officiated the Canada Games trials, the N.W.T. School Championships and the “North of 60” challenge in Whitehorse. Having done 100 matches in such a short time, she is definitely going to be ready to umpire at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., this February.

“We are very proud of Shari,” says executive director for Table Tennis North Thorsten Gohl. “She is involved in so many things in the North and we are grateful for having her. She has done a lot of matches in such a short time and it was so great to see all the support that she got from our athletes, coaches, teachers, parents and more. Everyone seemed to be helping out, and at the end, Shari did an amazing job.”

Brian Stewart from Team Yukon, an international umpire, had more great things to say.

“Shari is a perfect example of what a new umpire should be; she listened to hours of rules and stories, she jumped right into officiating singles and doubles matches, and in a just a day she passed her exam with flying colours. I am very proud to have been part of her development and I can’t wait to meet up with her again in Red Deer this February and then again to have her come to Whitehorse in 2020.

“As the only active official north of 60 for many years, I find it very exciting to have “co-workers” who understand the challenges northern officials for Table Tennis have. With such a strong addition to the northern contingent of officials, hopefully, we can open up more opportunities for us in the north.”

The Table Tennis event at the 2019 Canada Winter Games will be hosted in Red Deer, from February 15-22, 2019.

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