Oswaldo Borges soon at work after his election as President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union
Photo By: Enrique Jiménez
Two World Championships, four Pan American Games, four Central American Games, four South American Games and two Bolivarianos Games; Venezuela’s Oswaldo Borges gained the recognition of being his country’s “Volleyball Player of the Twentieth Century”.
Unfortunately an Olympic Games appearance proved elusive.
Venezuela came close but qualification never materialised and in 1989, encouraged by fellow countryman, the renowned coach Pancho Seijas, Oswaldo Borges turned his attentions from Volleyball to Table Tennis.
In 1990 he became President of the Venezuelan Table Tennis Federation, in 2006 the President of the South American Table Tennis Federation and on Saturday 28th May 2011 he was elected President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union.
Minister for Sport
The Venezuelan Minister of Sport from 1979 to 1984; Oswaldo Borges has a definite vision for a new structure professional management structure within the Latin American Table Tennis Union.
He envisages the a Legal Representative and Deputy President as his immediate advisers (at the General Assembly of the Latin American Table Tennis Union, the Dominican Republic’s Juan Vila, was elected Deputy President); then next-in-line he proposes to set up eight commissions, each with a definitive task.
Technical, Umpiring, Finance, Ethics, Development, Veterans, Women and Sports Science are the eight Commissions envisaged by Oswaldo Borges.
He is desirous of taking personal friendships out of the equation, appointing people on terms of ability, the key word being professional.
Throughout the ITTF-Latin American Championships Oswaldo Borges has maintained a keen eye on proceedings and with many items he is delighted at the progress that has been made.
The venue with the red Tinsue court mat and Stag table tennis tables looks impressive as do the azure blue surrounds; he is pleased with the arena, the fast secure internet link, the fact the ITTF has appointed a Competition Manager and he was quick to applaud the volunteers.
Certainly, the volunteers have responded, in true Latin American traditions, always smiling.
Equally, he was quick to note that perhaps some areas of security could be tightened; the umpires need more experience and must not tolerate minor failings; whilst perhaps the transport organisation needs slight attention.
However, none of these are catastrophic, none are major concerns; just small changes at a tournament where the vast majority of comments are of the positive nature.
Sergio Blanco, the Tournament Director, and his team have presented a well organised tournament, they are to be congratulated on their efforts.
The organisers have responded to the challenge now it is the turn of the players.
“They must enter the arena correctly”, said Oswaldo Borges. “They must present themselves correctly; carrying a bag on the shoulder is not acceptable.”
It is a comment with which I totally concur; the players must learn the etiquette of presentation; it is no problem for the best in the world, now the Latin American players must learn; when your name is announce step forward and bow, not just stand there with a cheesy embarrassed grin as though desperate to go to the toilet!
“We have to learn from every competition we organise for the future”, continued Oswaldo Borges. “I plan to produce a handbook for tournament organiser so that we can continually raise standards.”
Why the Name?
A very positive President but why on earth does everyone called him “Papelon”?
Call him Oswaldo and he thinks you are talking to the person standing next to him!
Apparently, the name comes from school days and has nothing whatsoever to do with “Papillon”, the French word for Butterfly.
Oswaldo Borges is tall, his skin somewhat darker than most Venezuelans. Brown sugar which has a white paper covering and is long and thin in size is known in Venezuela as a “Papelon”.
One day at school he was wearing white clothes and a boy in his class told him he looked like a “Papelon”. Oswaldo Borges took an exception to the nickname and duly thumped the boy with his fist!
News travelled fast, others taunted him with the name “Papelon”, he thumped them as well!
Principal Sends for Mother!
Mother was called to the school, he was told to calm down.
The dutiful son obeyed but the name stuck and from then on, throughout his Volleyball career and professional life it has always been “Papillon”.
I am Taking No Chances
Now, he’s taller than me and I’m no hero; so just in case I’m playing safe.
The term of office is four years, the new President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union is from Venezuela.
The name is Oswaldo Borges!