From line umpire to referee - the Nitin Kannamwar story

The 57-year-old Nitin was the referee of the tennis event in the Paralympics in Tokyo.

Nitin Kannamwar, the first Asian tennis referee in the Paralympics in Tokyo.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Nitin Kannamwar is an experienced tennis official in the country. He has officiated 48 times in four Grand Slams, including 24 times in the Wimbledon.

Recently, the 57-year-old Nitin was the referee of the tennis event in the Paralympics in Tokyo.

Nitin, who had started as a line umpire in 1994, had prepared for his role as a referee; the first Asian to be entrusted the task, even while performing his duty as a review official for the Olympics - his fourth after Atlanta, Sydney and Beijing.

It was the third Paralympics for Nitin, who was the chief of umpires in Rio. He had also served as the referee in the two Youth Olympics in Singapore and Nanjing.

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"We delivered the event, as a team, in an adverse situation," said Nitin.

He had been to six Asian Games and has served as the referee and ITF supervisor, but there is no bigger stage than the Olympics. "You cannot compare the Olympics with anything. All eyes of the world are on the Games," he said.

"It means a lot to me. From line umpire to referee. I am happy," said Nitin, who had started in tennis as a player and had also been a coach.

The preparation for the Games had started months ahead, but there were breaks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘’I was there five days in advance for Paralympics. We have seven to eight screens for schedule, draws etc. Omega controls the system, and they explained the procedure," said Nitin.

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He was appointed for two wheelchair events to familiarise himself with the players, but he could not attend the second in Portugal, owing to the second wave of COVID-19 in India. ‘’I lost the opportunity, as all countries shut flights from India’’, he recalled.

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