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Officials Conference

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30 March 2009

Article by Cherry Alexander as seen in Athletics Weekly.

On Sunday 19 April the 6th UKA Officials Conference will take place in Solihull in the midst of an exciting time for the sport.

As with every conference there is a range of essential workshops and information sharing to be had – but for me the highlight is seeing how this successful annual event supports our activities heading towards 2012.

With the Olympics and Paralympics galloping towards us at speed we are on the right road to ensure we have all of our pieces in place for these two immense sporting festivals. Both events will require us to deliver a significant number of  core technical officials operating at world class level. A challenging task for any sport, but even more in athletics.

As well as our usual busy schedules throughout the year, we have to ensure we have the right number of officials, and that we have opportunities to run significantly challenging test events in the approach to 2012 so that we are world class across both Games.

All that whilst continuing to operate a vibrant domestic competition scene week in week out whilst undertaking these mammoth preparations – it demonstrates clearly how much we can achieve, and therefore the conference plays a key role in making sure we continue to develop officials at every opportunity.

There are always areas to be built upon and we are continuing to look at a number of aspects. For example there have been vast improvements in our collection of data with our officials across the country but there is much still to be done to make sure the network of officials is communicated with properly – events like our Officials Conference are key to helping us achieve this.

The conference is also a great forum for discussion around new areas we have to adapt to, for example the introduction and transfer to  the framework for officials from levels 1-5, understanding the pathway and the impact of areas related to welfare such as CRB. The officials we have worked with have adapted well – yet  the Conference is an excellent way for us to discuss these developments openly and address any concerns.

As well as underpinning our approach to 2012, each conference can sometime feature a common theme, and this year’s is no different: as we build upon the success of hosting the World Cross Country Championships in 2008, this year will have an enhanced level of endurance related subjects covered in  a number of the workshops on offer.

This is in no small way thanks to the Endurance sub group for technical officials, who are moving forward as we speak in a number of areas to enhance and develop education and opportunities related specifically to endurance officials. Furthermore, links to Realbuzz Run Britain has certainly made a difference and it is hoped that this partnership will prove fruitful for this unique officiating group. I urge more endurance officials to attend this conference – they will find there is much of interest .

More than anything I hope the event helps show UKA’s commitment to helping officials with their own aspirations, and demonstrate how thankful we are for their relentless enthusiasm in giving their time to help athletes attain their targets.

To sign up for the event, please visit the UKA website www.uka.org.uk/competitions/officials where you can sign up online, or download the form to complete and send in by post.