BWF line judge Pauline Eldred and Australian line judge, daughter Sally, are a dynamic duo, mother daughter team from the Australian state of Queensland, who have been working together as line judges last week at the YONEX Bendigo International. In the past they have also line judged at several high-profile events in recent years including the Australian Badminton Open, Sudirman Cup 2017 and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2017. What started as a way of spending quality time together while playing badminton, has turned into an international badminton journey for both women. “Sally fell in love with badminton so getting involved in the sport we both loved was a way we could do something together every week” says Pauline.
To be able to officiate at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, held in the Gold Coast, Australia, Pauline, and Sally had to line judge at two international tournaments preceding the Games which were the Australian Badminton Open, then a BWF Super Series tournament and the Sudirman Cup held in the Gold Coast in 2017. In 2021 Pauline was awarded BWF Line Judge status and in 2022 she had her first appointment out of the Oceania region at the BWF World Junior Championships in Spain, followed by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Pauline always played badminton at a social level so the interest in the sport was already there. To take that interest to a higher level needed a change in approach. Because of Sally’s progression in badminton as a player, Pauline felt she needed to find a direction that kept her aligned with her daughter’s love of the game. “How can I keep my involvement? I found that becoming a line judge did that, and inevitably this was my pathway to the international stage” explains Pauline.
As a BWF line judge, Pauline is about to undertake her biggest and most exciting event yet – the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. This 12-day extravaganza of para badminton will undoubtedly be the highlight of her career to date. Pauline says that meeting people from around the world, doing a role she loves to do and reacquainting with old friends is great, however “it is always nice to come back to Australia, to the people that I learnt the trade with”.
Joining Pauline in Paris is fellow compatriot and BWF line judge, Lok Yun Loi. Asked if she has anything else planned as a line judge, Pauline is happy with what is on offer now, stating “I only have Paris on the radar at the moment. I haven’t thought beyond that. However, wherever badminton fits in, I will be there.”
Pauline hopes that one day Sally will follow in her footsteps and get to experience some of the top events in the world as a line judge however for the time being Sally is content to assist with both set-up and as a line judge at tournaments in Australia.