The tournament was held for the first time in Australia in Bendigo, Victoria. It is a city of 95,587 population (June 2016). Bendigo was a former gold rush boom town (1850s). The tourist attractions include the Central Deborah Gold Mine and the Golden Dragon Museum which is dedicated to the history and culture of the Chinese people who immigrated to the region.

Bendigo is 91 minutes (135.3 km) away from Melbourne Airport. The venue was Bendigo Stadium and held on 8 tables with live streaming on Tables 1 and 2. There were 4 Referees and 35 Umpires (19 from Australia). Malcolm Wong was the sole New Zealand Umpire at the tournament. The umpires were provided with 4 short sleeve shirts and 2 long sleeve shirts, sponsored by Li-Ning (China).The umpires were accommodated in apartments at Quest Bendigo, as was the New Zealand Boys and Girls Teams. Unfortunately Quest Bendigo was miles away from anywhere. Malcolm was in an apartment with Jonathan Whitaker (Scotland) and Bruce Doughty (Australia). He had previously umpired with Jonathan at the 2009 Commonwealth Championships (Glasgow). Malcolm umpired mainly with Jonathan Whitaker (3 days) and Ben Cao (China) for 2 days. He also umpired with Rahul Jaiswal (India) and Mark Patane (Australia). There was air conditioning in the Stadium. Temperature outside reached 39 degrees Centigrade.

In team matches Malcolm umpired Australia v Singapore (Boys) won by Singapore 3-0 (Table 1) on 2 Dec. Also Belarus v Brazil (Girls) won by Brazil 3-2 (Table 6) on 3 Dec. And Poland v Singapore (Boys) won by Singapore 3-2 (Table 4) on 4 Dec. China won the Boys Team Final v Japan 3-0 and the Girls Final v Japan 3-1. See here for all results.

Malcolm umpired players from 20 countries. In the Boys Singles Quarter Finals he umpired Xu Haidong (China), the Boys Singles and Doubles winner. Also the Mixed Doubles Quarter Finals he umpired Xu Yingbin/Shi Xunyao (China) who would win the event. Shi was also the Girls Singles runner up and Girls Doubles winner. China won all 5 individual titles.

The umpiring schedule meant the lunch and tea breaks were often late. Malcolm had lunch once at 3.15pm and tea once at 9.10 pm. 8 days is a long time to be umpiring. Malcolm was also on racket control duty twice. Averil Roberts, formerly from Wellington, and now living in Melbourne (Australia), umpired the Junior Girls Doubles Final.

The NZ Girls Team finished 3rd out of 3 teams in Group 1. NZ lost to the Russian Federation 3-0 and to Belarus 3-1. Hui Ling Vong beat Marharyta Baltushite (BLR) 3-1 (11-9 13-11 7-11 11-6). For team positions 9 to 16 NZ lost to France 0-3. They then beat Australia 3-0 (team position 13 to 16) with Hui Ling Vong beating Parleen Kaur 3-1 (11-8 3-11 11-5 11-8). NZ finished 14th when they lost to Belarus 3-0 in the playoff for team position 13 to 14.

In the individual events Hui Ling Vong lost all 3 singles matches to finish 4th in Girls Singles Group 16. Her best match was against Anastasi Bondareva (Germany) who won 4-2 (11-8 8-11 11-9 12-10 6-11 11-9). In the Girls Doubles she and Jianyi Zhou lost 0-3 (9-11 5-11 4-11) to Jokic Tijana /Sabina Surjan (Serbia). In the Mixed Doubles with Nathan Xu, they beat Nikhill Kumar/Rachel Yang (USA) 3-2 (9-11 14-12 11-3 10-12 11-2) in the Round of 64 before losing to Guilherme Teodora/Bruna Takahashi (Brazil) 0-3 (7-11 7-11 5-11).

An after tournament function was held at the All Seasons Hotel (Bendigo) on the evening of Sunday Dec 9, which was attended by many officials, coaches and players.

Thanks to the Oceania Table Tennis Federation who organised the tournament. Also to the volunteers. I was meet at Melbourne Airport and directed to the mini bus that took me to Bendigo. There was a continental/cooked breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and tea was provide at Bendigo Stadium. There was a bus from the hotel to Bendigo Stadium every half hour from 7.40 am to 7.40 pm and from the Stadium to the hotel from 8.30 am to 8 pm.

It was a great experience to be at the World Junior Championships. Meeting new people and umpiring many exciting matches.

-Malcolm Wong

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Officials Photo - 2018 World Junior Table Tennis Championships (Bendigo, Australia) 2-9 December
Officials Photo – 2018 World Junior Table Tennis Championships (Bendigo, Australia) 2-9 December.

Standing (Back Row) Samuel Miller, Shaun Koh (SGP), Pak Hong Lee (HKG), Evgenii Klykovski (RUS), Klara Vaculovicova (CZE), Jan Vrabec (CZE), Bruce Doughty, Mark Patane, Kirsty Whitaker (SCO -Volunteer), Kameron Chan, Stephen Gillespie, William Almasi, Joseph Fung, John McMullan, Ahmad Almasri (JOR).
Standing (Row 2) Tatiana Kamenskaya (RUS), Hau Yi Lau, Rahul Jaiswal (IND), Cyril Sen (MAS -Evaluator).
Seated (Row 2) Ben Cao (CHN), Paul Schiltz (LUX – Evaluator) Neil Montfort, Malcolm Wong (NZL), Glenn Errington, Marie Pinkewich, David Villalta (ESA), Boggdan Barrientos (GUA), Insook Park (KOR), Mijung Bong (KOR), Wing Au.
Seated (Front Row) James Lew, Jonathan Whitaker, Averil Roberts, David Delpratt (Deputy Referee), Steen Anderson (DEN – Referee), Niwat Semangern – (THA – Deputy Referee), Yini Yang (CHN – Deputy Referee), Yuka Braun, Arnold Puts, Jock McNeil, Satheese Attoor (IND).
NB: Umpires (light blue Shirts), Referees (Dark Blue Shirts). Only country abbreviations for non Australians officials.

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