The ITTF World Tour Grand Finals will, yet again, provide the most spectacular stage to bring the curtain down on an unforgettable 12 months of action, passion and drama, as the world’s greatest table tennis stars battle it out for the much-coveted end-of-year titles and $1 million USD total prize purse – the highest on offer in the sport. 

Right within is our Official Darek Mikita from Manitoba, representing Canada at the highest competition level. Here is an insight on the tournament over the next few days: 

Every day we left the hotel at about 9:30 am and returned around 10:30 pm. And after a long day we were going every evening for the best chinese food that I ever eat in my life, returning to the hotel at about 1:30 am. The whole umpiring and referee team was attending every evening.

Going back to the tournament, well the Table Tennis Review (TTR) was introduced for the first time in the history of the ITTF. During the Men’s Single match between Jeong Yungsik and Ma Long, I participated as the umpire that was sitting by the review monitor. Irina, the Assistant Umpire called fault on Ma’s service and he chose to use TTR. He lost, as his service was illegal. As I was reviewing the video I had some members of the Chinese TT Association questioning my decision with lots of loud voices and emotions. Unfortunately, they didn’t know the service rule; Ma Long did hide the ball with his face during service motion. About an hour or so they came to me and apologized for their behaviour.

During the whole tournament I had a lot of great matches with fantastic rallies and great table tennis level. Just happened again that I met Ma long in the Men’s Single Quarter Final match as Assistant Umpire. I was umpiring the match between Ma long and Liang Jingkun with female umpire from Korea, Jeong Lee. In the second game Jeon warned Ma for his possibly illegal service, Ma subsequently challenged it and lost. In the third game I did faulted Ma for hiding the ball with his face. He challenged my call and after review, his TTR was unsuccessful. 

At the end of the tournament, I was awarded the Mixed Doubles Final between Mizutani Jun/Ito Mima from Japan, who face the Chinese Duo Xu Xin/Liu Shiwen as Umpire. My last match of the tournament was Women’s Single Final between Wang Manyu and Chen Meng both from China. I was the Assistant Umpire. 

The tournament was very well attended, well organized and was run without any delays. I was really honoured to have been selected as one of four International Blue Badge Umpires to be part of such a great event.

Day 2

Darek’s room mate


Tournament Table

Day 1

Getting ready for officials meeting. This is a first competition using TTR – table tennis review. I believe 17 cameras are used to record each rally and allow for 2 challenges per player per match to request review in case they don’t agree with umpires call: for fault service, for edge ball etc.

Men’s Single draw

Timo Boll and Dimitri Ovtcharov fro Germany warming up before the tournament

Day 0

The competition starts tomorrow. Right now there is a draw for the tournament and we have officials meeting about 5 hrs from now. This evening there is big gala for all the players recognizing their participation in Grand Tour Finals and the greatest show in table tennis starts tomorrow.

Meeting the President of the International Table Tennis Federation