Grantham table tennis umpire Ben is runner-up at national awards

Ben Johnson and Martin Bodenham
Ben Johnson and Martin Bodenham
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Young table tennis umpire Ben Johnson was shortlisted for an award and met one of Britain’s top officials at the Sports Officials UK National Awards presentation.

The youngster from Grantham was nominated as School Games Official of the Year.

He is one of the youngest qualified county umpires at 14 and, as well as umpiring at the Sainsbury’s School Games in September, was chosen to give the officials’ oath at the opening ceremony, which he read on behalf of all officials at the event.

Ben was runner-up at the awards, which were held at Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern, last Thursday, with Jon Mason of UK Athletics declared the winner.

The speaker at the awards ceremony was Martin Bodenham, who was on football’s FIFA list from 1992 to 1996 and was one of the first Premier League referees.

He retired in 1998 after 19 seasons and trained as a cricket umpire – he has also been on the ECB’s list of first-class umpires since 2009.

Ben has now been nominated to attend the Youth Sport Trust Talent Camp for young officials at Loughborough University in December.