TABLE TENNIS: Grantham umpire Alex wins Young Official of the Year award

Alex Mercer with Pat Smith and Karen Tonge.
Alex Mercer with Pat Smith and Karen Tonge.
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Grantham table tennis umpire Alex Mercer won the Young Official of the Year at the Sports Officials UK annual awards ceremony in Daventry last Thursday.

Twenty-three-year-old Alex, who qualified in 2010 as one of the youngest English national umpires, has this year officiated at the Youth Olympics in China and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as the English National Championships.

He was nominated for the award by Table Tennis England.

Alex said: “The past year has been great with the Youth Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and receiving this award has really capped it off.

“Table tennis has given me the opportunity to go to different parts of the world and meet people from all walks of life and I feel that I have learned a lot.

“It’s great to receive this award and it makes me feel appreciated by Table Tennis England to be nominated. It’s also good to see table tennis being recognised alongside all the other sports and their officials at this event.”

The SOUK Awards recognise “the immense value of sports officials and the role they play in increasing and sustaining participation within all sports”.

The event featured guest speakers Howard Webb, who refereed the 2010 football World Cup final, plus rugby union referee Wayne Barnes and umpire and former cricketer Richard Illingworth.

Alex Mercer (centre) is pictured with Pat Smith of SOUK (left) and Karen Tonge of Table Tennis England.