As the ITTF Canada junior circuit 2009 begins in Montreal on August 20, it will be a momentous occasion for Indian table tennis as N. Ganeshan makes his debut as competition manager.

As the only Asian to be among the International Table Tennis Federation’s elite panel of competition managers, the 47-year old Ganeshan is the face of Indian table tennis which still hasn’t got many world class players.

Ganeshan, who works with Indian Overseas Bank in Thiruvananthapuram, was selected at the assigned competition managers’ workshop held in Doha in February 2009. “There was a written and a practical test after the workshop. It was tough as only two persons were selected from it. For ITTF a person’s country of origin doesn’t matter but what matters is how good he is,” he said.

According to Ganeshan, ITTF competition manager’s job is a responsible position as he is the official representative of the ITTF executive committee and has the final authority in all matters and in case of disputes can over-rule the referee or even the tournament director.

“A competition manager has to work closely with the referee in the tournament in all technical matters of the event and he has to prepare a short evaluation report of the tournament in order to provide feedback for future improvement and affiliation to the ITTF,” he said.

Ganeshan, who been officiating as referee for the last 23 years, made his debut as chief referee in the National Sub-junior championships which was held in Kozhikode in 1998. His blemish less record and hard work has made the Table Tennis Federation of India nominate him as chief referee for the National Championships for the last six years.

After passing the international referees exam in 2004, Ganeshan has officiated in numerous tournaments around the world, the notable ones being the as the umpire in the 2006 commonwealth Games and as the deputy chief referee of the Commonwealth championships in Glasgow in 2009.

He is the only active international referee in India now and has been the chief referee for all International tournaments held in India since 2006. Ganeshan, who has now been nominated as chief referee for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was the only Indian selected to attend the first international referees conference held at Guzhanzou in China in 2008.

A life-long fan of the game Ganeshan switched to officiating when his aspiration as a player didn’t take off. But he has no regrets. “From the beginning I had always enjoyed officiating. You need loads of patience and passion to be successful referee,” said Ganeshan who is also a member of the technical committee of the TTFI.

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