The Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Mini Games provided the perfect opportunity to kickstart new pathways for aspiring technical officials.
Across the week, seven experienced technical officials travelled to the remote island to officiate (referee, umpire and line judge) and to not only perform their official duties, but assist with the upskilling and assessments of local volunteers. Those who travelled were:
- Julie Carrel )NZL) – Technical Delegate and Deputy Referee
- Peter Cocker (AUS) – Referee
- Susan Taylor (AUS) – Umpire Manager/Trainer
- Vic (NZL) – Umpire
- Holly (NZL) – Umpire
- Richard Wong (AUS) – Umpire
- Taurea Mara (TAH) – Umpire
- Ravi Nandan (AUS) – Line Judge Manager/Trainer and Umpire
Heirani Taupo also travelled with Taurea (from Tahiti) to gain experience towards her Pacific Accredited Umpire qualification. Following her professionality on court and knowledge on the theory exam, Heirani (only 19 years old) became the first female from Tahiti to earn the qualification and starts her pathway to the higher levels.
Moreover, members of the local association (Christy Villaflor, Ericka Santiago Arriane Antonio) and Joanne Tass (Solomon Islands) also undertook the training to become a Pacific Accredited Umpire – all becoming the first from their respective countries to pass the assessments. In the lead up to the Games, all three completed and passed the online umpire training which was conducted by Badminton Oceania during the lockdown in 2020.
Having also undertaken line judging duties, Christy has been nominated to become a BWF Line Judge in the next round of appointments. Meanwhile, Joanne, Taurea and Christy went one further by taking information and badges home with them after the event to deliver training for the ‘Junior Umpire Award’ among their local communities in the coming months.
Australia’s Ravi Nandan attended the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a BWF Line Judge. In the Northern Marianas, he was able to bring his experience to oversee the development of over 40 local volunteers who learnt more about the rules of badminton and passed their line judge assessment and gained their Pacific Accredited Line judge qualification.
The overwhelming success of the tournament and enthusiasm from local technical officials has sparked discussions to stage Grade 3 tournaments in Northern Marianas and their neighbouring country, Guam, in the near future.
“It is incredibly motivating and positive to see such a huge amount of interest from the local workforce. We are very grateful for the passion and dedication from the local volunteers who were pivotal to the tournament’s success. Moreover, I’d like to thank the experienced Technical Officials who accompanied us to the Pacific Mini Games for sharing their knowledge and helping others to realise their potential with officiating in badminton” , says Badminton Oceania CEO/Secretary General, Julie Carrel.
Find out more about Badminton Oceania’s Technical Official Pathway here.