Genevieve Lentz is set to take the world by storm when she participates at the Tokyo Olympic Games as the first African female table tennis deputy referee.

Lentz recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Education – SUMMA CUM Laude – and is looking forward to be part of the referee team.

Speaking to gsport, Lentz said: “When I received the news that I was going to be Deputy Referee at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics I was thrilled and honoured to have been selected by the International Table Tennis Federation to be part of the Referee Team.

“This appointment is especially extra special for me since I will be the first African Female to be part of the Referee Team for Table Tennis since the inception of the Olympics in Athens in 1896.

“This in itself is a milestone for me and the African continent but more so for African women. So, I am humbled to be in the starting blocks for African women in table tennis on the world stage.”

Lentz shares how she is preparing herself for the upcoming Olympics Games as the Covi-19 pandemic is still rife.

“As with any important exam or practical you need to be thoroughly prepared and this means that I revise my International Table Tennis Rules as well as the role that the Referee plays at such an auspicious event. Our Table Tennis rules are adapted yearly so officials need to be up to date with the latest rules.

“Furthermore, there are less than 16 days left before my departure for Tokyo so I am going into self-isolation to restrict and limit my contact with people and possibly placing myself at risk of getting Covid-19. Within 96 hours before departure to Japan, I need to have two Covid-19 tests conducted as per the Tokyo Playbook_V3 (Version 3).

“Upon arrival in Japan, I need to present my Vaccination Card as well as my two negative Covid- 19 Test Results. No participant will be allowed to enter Japan without these negative test results. It further stipulates that all overseas participants need to monitor their health 14 days prior their arrival in Japan. This means that participants need to take their temperature daily and proactively monitor their personal health for any Covid-19 symptoms.”

The international Table Tennis umpire is determined to fulfil her duties as a referee and successfully participate at the event.

“My goal is to fulfill my Referee duties as best I can, to ensure fair play for all and to ultimately have a successful Table Tennis Event at the Olympic Games. My aspiration is to be impart my expertise but simultaneously learn from the rest of the Referee Team.

“Our Referee Team is made up of 3 members, of which I am the only female and so I aspire to be a valuable asset to the team but also learn from them as we each bring a different skill set, seasoned experience and expertise to the Games.

“As a team I hope that we holistically make these Games a monumental experience for both the athletes and the officials. Post the Olympic Games, I wish to share my experience with my colleagues back home and in Africa.

“Every experience is unique, and every new experience is a chance to learn,” she concluded.


Photo 1 Caption: Genevieve Lentz is set to take the world by storm when she participates at the Tokyo Olympic Games as the first African female table tennis deputy referee. Photo: Charlie Jay Photography (Supplied by Genevieve Lentz)