John celebrates 2012 call up

A MESSINGHAM man is celebrating after being chosen to be a table tennis umpire for the London 2012 Olympics.

Not only that, but John Mackey is one of only four selected for the role in whole of the UK.

John, who regularly plays in the Gainsborough Table Tennis League, is a trained official in the sport.

The 57-year-old started officiating at county level in 1996, before moving on to international standard in 2002.

As a Blue Badge International Umpire, John is among just 250 worldwide with the elite status who are eligible to referee the sport at Olympic level.

“I was thrilled when I found out that I had been selected,” he said.

“It will be a real honour to represent my country at the Olympics.”

“I’ve done the World Cup, the Table Tennis Federation’s Pro Tour Grand Finals and other international events before, but the Olympics are such a huge and prestigious event.”

John says he is sure that he can beat off nerves to focus on the task at hand.

“I’m sure I’ll quickly forget that the TV cameras are there, with millions of spectators watching,” he said.

He added: “I’m sure I met get a bit nervous when the time comes, but I really couldn’t be more proud to be able to be a part of it.”