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International women's day: officials - samantha isaac

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Samantha Isaac

22 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.  

Samantha Isaac 

What is your role as an official?
I am Track Judge and Endurance official.

How long have you been officiating?
Since March 2016.

What inspired you to become an official?
Having been a club runner when I was a teenager, I have always had an interest in the sport and continued to run to keep fit in my 20s. In my early 30s a series of injuries meant that I wasn't able to run as much as would have liked to, but I still wanted to be a part of the sport somehow. Whilst at the British Indoor Championships in Sheffield in 2016 I stumbled across the UKA Recruitment Stand. I got talking to the official there and signed up for more information which led to booking on to the initial training course. The course leader put in touch with local clubs who needed a track judge and I haven't looked back since.

What would you say to anyone wanting to get into officiating?
As a young(ish!) official myself I would say give every role a go when you start to see which ones you like most. Whilst track judging is my favourite duty, I have also enjoyed working in photo finish, learning how seeding works and being the starter's assistant too. 

What has been the highlight of your officiating career?
One of the best moments of my officiating career was volunteering at the Special Olympics in Sheffield in 2017. Despite the rain, there was a fantastic atmosphere and great team spirit throughout. The other highlight has to be meeting my (now) husband at one of the athletics competitions I officiated at! 

What can we do as a sport to achieve a #BetterBalance in officiating?
To achieve a #BalanceforBetter in officiating female officials need to be visible at all levels of competition - from grassroots through to international meetings. They also need to be seen fulfilling a variety of different officiating roles so that people can aspire to be like them and understand that there are opportunities to take part in all of them.

Find out more about International Women's Day here

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