Pictured: Karen Arnold, line judging at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
Australian line judge, Karen Arnold, has arrived in Tokyo, ready to officiate in the Para badminton tournament which starts tomorrow.
Despite having over a year and a half away from international competitions, Karen has been preparing for the sport’s biggest stage by reviewing the BWF statutes to ensure she’s on top form. Like all of Oceania’s technical official representatives at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Karen was involved in the inaugural Australian Para Badminton International 2018.
Listen to what Karen had to say about his first Paralympic appointment:
What was your initial reactions after receiving a letter of position at the Tokyo 2020 Games?
I felt incredibly excited to receive the letter and am honoured to be going to Tokyo.
What are you most looking forward to when line judging in Tokyo?
I’m looking forward to watching some excellent matches and just being involved again with working in a team of other line judges.
You are an experienced line judge – can you give us a snapshot of the highest level of tournaments you have umpired at? (able bodied and para).
I have line judged at Sudirman Cup in Brisbane in 2017, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, BWF World Junior Championship and BWF World Junior Team Championships 2019 (held in Russia). My first experience with umpiring Para badminton was at the Australian Para Badminton International 2018 and VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships held in Geelong in 2018.
What has the journey looked like to prepare for the Paralympics? Have you had to undergo any major learnings for the new classifications?
As for everyone, it has been difficult to get to tournaments to line judge in Australia and/or Oceania with travel restrictions but I have been reviewing the BWF Statues, making sure I’m up-to-date with the court layouts and just practicing when I can at local tournaments or practice nights at my local club.
What do you anticipate will be the most notable differences (if any) between being a line judge at the Paralympics in comparison to other major events such as the World Championships?
I think it will be much more intense for everyone. You are representing your country after all!
How do you maintain your focus when judging a line and not get distracted?
Knowing that you can take a break in-between points and at intervals. That small amount of time gives you a chance to focus on something else away from the line (like looking at the umpire) or enables you to have a quick stretch of the neck, arms or legs.
Are there any interesting facts about line judging that the ‘average joe’ might not know?
It does take a lot of concentration and knowledge of the game, you are extremely close to the action, you do get to travel, make new friends and build that support network with other line judges and umpires from Australia, Oceania and around the world.
Any other comments you wish to add…?
I’m just really looking forward to going and being able to represent Australian and Oceania line judges at the first ever Paralympics that has badminton in it.