Hellas International was an amazing experience. "Hellas" is the ancient name for Greece.
The overall organisation support in terms of pick-ups from our hotels/airports to the venue and then drop-offs was amazing. There was one dedicated van only for the umpires and referees which was convenient as we often had to reach the venue earlier than others and then leave when everything was over.
The guidelines regarding the COVID were clear and they were very helpful to guide us when needed to get the required tests done.
I was one of the more senior umpires along with one other BWF umpire - so we had a special role in addition to umpiring - that of guiding and setting the example of promptness and good umpiring. Upon arrival the service height measuring devices were not set-up and they did not have any idea how to fix it. So I along with another umpire helped them to set-up all the devices, calibrating and then setting and testing them.
There was participation from over 25 countries with Malaysia dominating the proceedings and winning in all the categories other than that of women's singles and that honour went to Abigail Holden from England. So special congratulations to her and her coach for achieving this laurel.
Organisers were always eager to help and they took special efforts to take us to a scenic dinner at the bottom of the temple of Poseidon and of course to nearby sightseeing whenever it was possible. Our hotel was located some 20 minutes drive from the venue but the location was absolutely stunning. As soon as you open your balcony door you can see a huge lovely beautiful beach with sunrise greeting us from the start of the day. The weather was lovely and few of the umpires did sneak in to have some good swim and/or a few beers.
The tournament was very well organised. Of course these kinds of tournaments have their challenges in terms of getting enough qualified well-trained line judges, hence, we had to improvise with whoever we had available at that time. This of course stretched our umpiring skills with some challenging games! The main referee from Belgium and assistant referee from Greece were very helpful, friendly and had great fun as a team with all the other umpires and officials.
This was my first ever time to visit Greece and it has indeed left an indelible mark on me and made me determined to visit it more often.