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a day officiating at the british athletics indoor grand prix

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Mo Farah British Athletics Grand Prix 2013

17 year old Bethan Skuse details her experience of officiating at the prestigious British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix at Birmingham’s NIA in February of 2013…

I have recently qualified as a level 2C Starters Assistant. To date I have officiated at local club events and in Birmingham’s HiPac and more recently at the Midland Champs and Birmingham Games. However, I was delighted to be asked to attend the Grand Prix in Birmingham.

The day started with a talk from Margaret, our call room chief, who informed us of our roles, where everything was and what needed to be done and when; for the majority of the day I was an athlete steward which meant that I had to chaperone athletes from the call room to the track.

We all worked as a team to check kit bags and numbers, making sure that the athletes were ready to race. I got to see the athletes warming up and had the chance to speak to the likes of Linford Christie, Hannah England and Kim Collins. I was so lucky! How many people can say that they’ve shared a lift and spent time on the track with Olympians?!

As well as the many track and field superstars I got to meet, I met so many lovely officials who were very helpful and friendly. They really looked after me and kindly treated me as part of the team. As I run and compete myself, I try to speak to athletes in the way that I would like to be spoken to and it was good to see that most of the officials did this too - even at such a high level of competition. I really enjoyed the experience and working with some amazing people made the day so much easier and less nerve-wracking.

After I had finished in the call room, I was asked to come up on the track so that I could see how such a big competition was organised. This meant that I was able to help with the 400m, 800m, and 3000m races, which featured Perri Shakes-Drayton, Jenny Meadows and Mo Farah.

I was able to watch the lines for these races so I got to stand on track behind Mo Farah – an amazing experience that I will never forget. As a marksman, I am used to officiating at smaller events, but not events as big as a Grand Prix. It was a relief and a slight surprise that everything was handled similarly in both events, despite the difference in scale.

The day was brilliant and has really encouraged me to keep officiating. I’m very grateful to everybody who helped to make the experience so amazing.