The Asian Games tennis matches in Palembang may not feature the ‘Hawk Eye’, facilitating the challenge of line calls, but the umpires and linesmen would be under constant scrutiny with an aim to ensure a high standard of officiating.
Tennis Supervisor Nitin Kannamwar, who will be officiating in his sixth successive Asian Games, says that he has planned "a lot of new initiatives and activities which will benefit all officials", to make it a fruitful experience for the 50-odd people "gathering under one
roof for 10 days".
A versatile tennis official, a gold badge referee with loads of experience, Nitin has officiated in three Olympics, two Youth Olympics and 41 Grand Slams, apart from numerous Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties.
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"We will make sure that every chair umpire gets an evaluation from one of the seniors in the team, to improve his/her officiating skills", he said.
With so many seasoned officials, who are regulars at Grand Slams assembling for the Asian Games, Nitin said that the attempt would be "to bring all their expertise and experience to be shared with all the officials by extensive supervision, monitoring, coaching and
evaluation for all line umpires as well as chair umpires’’.
The main aspect of the initiative would be that a Chief Evaluator, with two assistants, would be speaking to the officials as they come off the court "on any improvements of technique, positive/negative feedback and constantly monitoring them even off court to improve not only their performance but also image".
"Most importantly, we will have someone coming from the ITF Development team for four days to be with the Asian officials to be a mentor, coach and evaluator for the high level Asian Chair Umpires’’, Nitin said.
The whole drive to step up the standard of officiating has been approved by the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) and is being done in collaboration with the Organising Committee of the Asian Games.
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"There is a lot of protocol at such Games in terms of accreditation, security, access etc. We are trying to take a step forward by learning from past experience. We want this Asian Games to be something more than just another event for all officials who will be assembling from 19 countries", said the 54-year-old Nitin.
Anton D’Souza and Avanee Gosavi will be the other Indian officials in Palembang. Chen Shu and Wang Jing of China will be the referee and Chief of Umpires for the Games respectively, while Singapore’s Major S Uthrapathy would be the Technical Delegate.
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