Bundaberg's Nikki Udal umpires at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Bundaberg's Nikki Udal umpires at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

HISTORY MADE: Udal becomes international umpire

TABLE TENNIS: Bundaberg’s Nikki Udal has been making the most of her time while most of the state has been self isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She’s been creating history in the sport of table tennis in Bundy.

Udal became the second Bundaberg Table Tennis member to become an International Table Tennis Federation International Umpire after completing  an exam.

Dave Delpratt from Bundaberg Table Tennis said she was the first woman from Queensland to become one.

“I didn’t make it a huge deal,” she said about it.

“I thought I may as well give it a go as it doesn’t come around every day.

“But I didn’t give it too much emphasis, I just did it to see how I go.”

Udal not only passed but she did it with flying colours, scoring 48 out of 50.

The process to become an international table tennis umpire began years ago.

“It started when my two children played table tennis,” she said.

“I did it for fun, to do it to help them play.”

Udal started in 2016 then did her state umpire exam the following year so she could umpire at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Now, four years, later she is one of the best in the country.

She said the test was all about making the right decision in quick time, exactly what umpires needed to do in matches.

The test was done online for the first time because of the coronavirus, which allowed Udal to get the results quickly.

“It’s about the interpretation and how quickly it comes to making decisions,” she said.

“We needed to make the most correct decision in the quickest time possible.”

The only negative for Udal is that she will have to wait to put her accreditation it to good use with most table tennis events cancelled.

She also said she has to wait until major events are held in Australia for the chance to umpire with limited opportunities available.

Bundaberg's Nikki Udal has completed her exam to become an International Table Tennis Federation International Umpire.
Bundaberg's Nikki Udal has completed her exam to become an International Table Tennis Federation International Umpire.

For now the focus is on handling her next challenge.

The music teacher at Bundaberg Christian College is preparing to transfer her teaching from the classroom to online.

“It’s going to be a big learning curve,” she said.

She said it would take some students longer to be taught and for her it could require a lot of technology to make sure she could teach the right notes.

“I’ll be having the phone going, the iPad going and the laptop going,” she said.

Udal said that she hoped her sons Matthew and Andrew would join her but were busy for now.

Her success helped with their table tennis.

“It’s quite funny, they learnt along with me,” she said.

“So when they play at home, they are making sure to pick up on the rules with first serve and other laws.

“They are pretty aware and get frustrated of others that aren’t aware of the rules.”



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