18th December 2013

Ipc Ito Level 2 Course, Dortmund February 2013

Margaret Werrett tells of her experience at the IPC Level 2 course that she attended along with Shona Malcolm, Dave Jessett and Jon Mason in Dortmund in February of this year…

At the end of January, Jon, Dave, Shona and I made our separate ways to Kamen, a suburb of Dortmund, for the inaugural IPC ITO level 2 training course in conjunction with the World Academy of Sport. By 10pm on the Thursday we had all arrived – despite half of us remaining on the train one stop too far! A quick refreshment in the bar and we headed for bed and a much welcomed rest.

Friday morning arrived all too quickly and 20 ‘wannabe’ ITOs arrived in the Sports School Rotunda showing signs of nerves and apprehension. The course began with the expected icebreaker tasks, making us communicate with each other and, in effect, getting the grey matter going. We were then split into groups, each with an IPC educator and as we expected, the four of us were well and truly split up. The morning included a quiz (more formally, a multiple choice test on the IPC rules) which lulled us into a false sense of security regarding our ability and knowledge.

We spent the majority of Friday going through various scenarios and feeding these back to the other groups who would then challenge the comments made. The educators were continually assessing us against various criteria which they had deemed necessary for an ITO to possess. Our three day journey to complete stage 1 of the course had begun; by 5.30pm on the Friday evening we were well and truly exhausted. 

Saturday started half an hour earlier and finished an hour later than Friday.  We went through rules, rules and more rules. From my perspective, most of these were alien to me being a mere starter. However Dave, Shona and Jon were also out of their comfort zone with the few starting scenarios we encountered. That evening we had arranged a trip to Dortmund to sample the local hospitality but when it came to it, we were so tired that instead we opted for the bar in the Sports School instead with bed following soon after.

Sunday morning arrived and on entering the Rotunda, we saw the day’s agenda, complete with a quiz scheduled for the afternoon.  The teacher in me took one look at the time and both Dave and I had suspicions it was more sinister than it appeared. The better adjectives to use would have been ‘exam’ and ‘blooming hard’. In fact, the ‘quiz’ actually lasted for longer than planned and our sympathies went to those delegates who did not have English as a first language.

Following this we were given feedback by our educators on the competences being assessed throughout the weekend.  The CEO of IPC athletics kept telling us we were on a three day interview – I can see what they meant!

After the course finished, the four of us and our American friend, Melinda, together with Jack Todd (an educator) went on a sorti to Kamen station to purchase tickets our journey back to Dusseldorf the following day.  To prove how tiring the course had been and to our great amusement, one ITO and five ‘wannabe’ ITOs spent twenty minutes in the freezing cold trying to purchase two train tickets.

On return from the station we spent our last evening together chatting and putting the world to rights.

Without a doubt we wouldrecommend the course to others. If my experiences are anything to go by, I learnt a great deal about other disciplines to the point where I found myself waking up in the middle of the night with field event rules and high jump specifications running incessantly through my head.  I now look at meetings in a different light having obtained a more rounded view of rules and officiating.

We all have a practical element to complete with our educators monitoring us in the role of ITO at an IPC meeting over the next year or so. We are all looking forward to completing the course and hopefully meeting some of the new friends we made in Germany again. One of the educators, Elena Barrios, knew all four of us from London; she wishes her regards to be passed onto her friends in the United Kingdom.

Finally, we would like to thank British Athletics for giving us the opportunity to attend this inaugural course.