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international women's day: officials - sandy forrest 

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Sandy Forrest


23 March 2019 

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year and is a focal point in the movement of women’s rights.  This year’s campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. 

Athletics prides itself on being a gender balanced sport and our officials play a major part in achieving this, where currently there are 59% male and 41% female officials in the UK.  In support of International Women’s Day 2019, throughout March, we will feature Officials across the UK to celebrate them and their commitment to athletics.

 

Sandy Forrest 

What is your role as an official?
I am a senior official, primarily a Photofinish Judge, but also a Timekeeper and a Field Judge. I regularly operate as a Chief Judge, or often as Call room Manager, or National Technical Delegate.

How long have you been officiating?
I have been officiating for 52 years.

What inspired you to become an official?
I started officiating while injured (ruptured Achilles tendon) as I missed the atmosphere at an athletics meeting and missed my friends. When I returned to competition I continued timekeeping on my non-competition days when my husband was competing. I enjoyed the various tasks involved and enjoyed the challenge of gaining “promotion” through the grades, and officiating at major events.

What would you say to anyone wanting to get into officiating?
Working as an official is a very satisfying activity; a) for an ex-athlete it is a way of repaying the officials who helped me to achieve success; b) it is a great social activity meeting new friends with a common interest; c) it is very rewarding watching young athletes making progress over the seasons, and possibly gaining success at senior level.

What has been the highlight of your officiating career?
My highlight was working as Chief Photofinish Judge at the London Olympics. That was a great honour, and an incredibly exciting experience.

What can we do as a sport to achieve a #BetterBalance in officiating?
Perhaps the way forward is to look at the length of athletics meetings and the selection of officials – people have many interests and responsibilities (eg. work, taking part in leisure activities, looking after family etc) and may not be prepared to spend 8 hours officiating at athletics. Perhaps meeting organisers should consider inviting two separate teams of officials e.g. am and pm, to avoid the lengthy commitment expected at present.


Find out more about International Women's Day here

If you want to get involved in officiating, find out more information here