Ramsey teenager handed umpire position at 2022 Commonwealth Games
- Credit: MICHAEL LOVEDER
A teenager from Ramsey is heading to the 2022 Commonwealth Games - as a referee.
Matthew Pryke will take charge of matches in both the table tennis and para table tennis events in Birmingham, one of 18 English and 36 officials in total working at the tournament.
He only gained the required qualifications during the pandemic but is now relishing the opportunity to officiate at a home Games.
The 18-year-old said: "I started off doing coaching sessions at St Neots Table Tennis Club and I was asked if I wanted to do the Level 1 umpires’ course so I could help out at tournaments and I thought why not?
"Then, during lockdown, I was asked if I wanted to do the Level 2 course and I obviously wasn’t doing anything else so I did that as well.
"It was quite a lot of work. We had Zoom sessions and then after the pandemic we had to go to training days to go through what we had done online, and then attend tournaments to improve the practical side – and there was an exam too."
Matthew, who works at B&Q in Huntingdon, won’t be allowed to umpire matches featuring England, but is still looking forward to playing his part in the Games.
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"Honestly, I never thought I’d end up at the Commonwealths, I’m really happy about it," he said. "The atmosphere will be brilliant, with it being a home Games. It’s going to be amazing.
"I want to see how the top players play. I’m looking forward to seeing [England number one] Liam Pitchford because he’s someone who I’ve seen on TV and online and being able to see him at a home Games will be brilliant."
The table tennis events take place across the full length of the Games, starting on July 29 and running through to August 8, the final day of competition.
All matches will be held at the NEC.
Team England have already announced that St Neots' Dan Bullen will be part of the squad for the para-table tennis.