The recent WTT Feeder Manchester gave the chance for 16 umpires and referees to continue working towards higher qualifications on their officiating journeys.

During the event last month, 13 candidates took their Level 2 (National) Umpires Exam, which is an hour long and comprises 50 questions.

This is followed up with a practical assessment and once both elements have been successfully passed, umpires are then eligible to be nominated to umpire at competitions overseas.

Running concurrently was another set of exams for three candidates aiming to pass their Level 2 (National) Referee qualification.

To take this exam, the Level 1 Referees must have already taken and passed the Level 2 Umpires award but this qualification is significantly tougher. They are given 85 minutes to answer a series of questions on rule interpretations and then work out a particularly tough round-robin group results calculation. This is preceded by a Competition Schedule test and followed up with a practical assessment at one of the National Championships.

Some of the candidates behind the scenes at WTT Feeder Manchester

For the first time, and running in tandem with Table Tennis England’s Level the Table strategy, several of the candidates who have specific learning needs were provided with support for their exams, which enabled more candidates to take their exams.

Once the tension of the exams ended, all candidates were given a back-of-house tour of the WTT Feeder Manchester, to see how international events operate and give them a good idea of what will be expected of them in a Call Room, in a fully functioning Racket Testing room, and the pre match preparations umpires must undertake at the next level up in their umpiring career.

During their two-hour tour they were also addressed by Adrian Christy (CEO), Neil Rogers (Head of Competitions and Events) Chris Newton (WTT Competition Manager) and Karen Tonge OBE (TOC Training Manger).

This was a unique opportunity which the Technical Officials Committee has never been able to do previously and wishes to continue going forwards towards the 2026 World Team Championships in London.

All candidates have now been informed of their results and have been offered their practical experience opportunities to finalise the qualifications. They will be supported by mentors as they take their next steps.

One of the candidates, umpire Vincenzo Chiarello, said: “I am absolutely thrilled and immensely proud to have been given the opportunity to progress in my umpiring journey. I cannot express enough gratitude to everyone who has generously offered their time, patience, and invaluable feedback along the way.

“I am wholeheartedly committed to continually improving my skills and am excited about the prospect of further mentoring and assessment. My experience in Manchester was truly inspiring, witnessing the professionalism, high standards, and competitiveness first-hand.”

If you wish to take a Technical Officials qualification, be it Umpiring or Tournament Organising please click here.