Mr Francis Frimpong, a lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), and an umpire for table tennis and para table tennis, has been appointed as a technical official at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
He is the sole Ghanaian to have been chosen for those events.
He was appointed based on the recommendation of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and was approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
Mr Frimpong has served as a technical official at major table tennis events such as the 2022 ITTF Africa Cup in Lagos, Nigeria; the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open and the ITTF Africa Cup Club Championships; the 2019 ITTF Africa Youth Championships in Accra, Ghana, in April 2019; the 2019 World University Games in Napoli, Italy, in July 2019; the 3rd Africa Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria, in July 2018; and the 3rd Youth Olympics held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2018.
Others are the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April 2018; the ITTF World Tour Platinum Open in Shenzhen, China, in June 2018; the World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, in May 2017; the 2016 Rio Olympics Qualification Championships and Africa Top-16 Challenge in Khartoum, Sudan, in February 2016; and the 11th All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo, in September 2015.
In an interview with UEW Media, Mr Frimpong, a lecturer at the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sports (HPERS), expressed delight at his second successive appointment to officiate in the prestigious quadrennial games.
"My first time was at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. This appointment tells me that hard work is certainly rewarded. As one of only two Africans and the sole Ghanaian technical official in table tennis, I feel encouraged to keep working to inspire other young officials in the country to climb to higher heights," he said.
He vowed to work diligently per the rules and regulations, while projecting UEW to the outside world.
He also promised to justify the confidence reposed in him by the CGF and ITTF by being fair and firm in his duties and working to his utmost capability.
He underscored the prospect of synchronising academics and sports, especially in Ghana. "It is my quest to ensure that Ghanaian children, parents, and teachers alike recognise the possibility of perfectly blending sports with academics and the numerous opportunities thereof."
Mr Frimpong expressed his sincere gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, and the entire management of the University for the permission and support extended to him. He was also appreciative to the organisers of the competition for the recognition bestowed on him.
The table tennis and para table tennis competition begin on Friday, July 29, and end on Monday, August 8, 2022.
Mr Frimpong is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Human Kinesiology Henan University in Kaifeng City, China, and also holds an M.Phil. in Human Movement Science (Sports Biomechanics – concentration) from the Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, China.
He also served as a graduate teaching assistant at the College of Physical Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, China, between September 2018 and June 2019 and as an installation officer, research and marketing assistant for Hebei Benow Sports Goods Company Limited, Shijiazhuang, China, from August 2018 to November 2021.
He managed three major international table tennis competitions for the ITTF between June 2019 and November 2020. These competitions were the 2019 China Junior and Cadet Championships in Taicang, China; the 2019 Chinese Taipei Junior and Cadet Championships in Taipei, Taiwan; and the 2019 ITTF Asian Para Championships and Tokyo Olympics Qualifications in Taichung, Taiwan.
Mr Frimpong also worked as an exercise physiologist at the Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farm, Sogakope, Ghana from June 2015 to September 2016. On the African continent, he currently serves as a member in charge of development in Anglophone countries of the Umpire and Referees Committee (URC) of ITTF-Africa.
He has won some international laurels, including the most outstanding international student at Northwest Normal University in 2018; the only Ghanaian with an ITTF certified Blue Badge Table Tennis Umpire; a silver medal for the men’s team of Northwest Normal University at the Gansu Province Universities Table Tennis Tournament, Lanzhou, China, also in 2018; and a bronze medal for the men’s singles at the same competition in October 2017.