Bon­te­heuwel's in­ter­na­tional ta­ble ten­nis ref­eree

Cape Argus - - Front Page - Naledi Mo­hono

SHE IS not only the first fe­male ta­ble ten­nis um­pire in Africa to par­tic­i­pate in the Olympics, but Genevieve Lentz is also the only African fe­male In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion ref­eree.

For more than a decade, Lentz has been han­dling matches and, in her pur­suit to im­prove her­self, she re­cently qual­i­fied as an in­ter­na­tional ref­eree, a dream many um­pires have.

“I wasn’t gen­er­ally a good player. Even though I played league and so­cially, I would al­ways end up um­pir­ing. I found that of­fi­ci­at­ing was my call­ing,” she said.

Lentz said the role comes with re­spon­si­bil­ity and one needed to be alert and sharp while on the court.

She was se­lected to be an um­pire in a num­ber of games in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing the 2008 Par­a­lympics in Bei­jing and the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

“If some­one had told me I was go­ing to the Olympics when I started out, I would have told them they are really crazy,” she said.

Lentz, who was born and raised in Bon­te­heuwel, said she be­lieved ev­ery­one was re­spon­si­ble for their lives and ca­reers.

Chair­per­son of Ta­ble Ten­nis West­ern Prov­ince Gre­gory Naik said: “It was an hon­our and in­spi­ra­tion to work with her, she has rep­re­sented us well.

“Our com­mu­nity is only known for vi­o­lence and gang­ster­ism and she has changed that. We are proud of her.”

On Wed­nes­day, Lentz ar­rived home from Egypt with the ti­tle of In­ter­na­tional Ref­eree in Ta­ble Ten­nis.

“With this mile­stone comes re­spon­si­bil­ity, I am look­ing for­ward to more op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE/ANA

GLOBAL AS­PI­RA­TION: Genevieve Lentz, from Bon­te­heuwel, is the first African woman to be­come an In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion ref­eree.

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