5th May 2009

Official Line


05 May 2009

Article by Cherry Alexander as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine 

The 6th UKA Officials Conference took place in Solihull on Sunday 19th April 2009 organised by UKA Competitions Team and volunteer members from UKA Technical Committee.  Yet again the delegate numbers increased with over 255 officials taking part, the highest number in the 6 year history of the event.

The conference has over the years translated into an excellent opportunity for officials to put their views and ideas forward, question Education material and discuss the challenging issues that face volunteers and the sport.  Judging by the feedback at the conference the officials now have a much greater understanding of the officiating structure.  They understand more fully what is required if they want to progress to another level or continue at their current level, either way, the aim is that they can continue to enjoy officiating and UKA continues to offer a clear and transparent progression pathway taking into account the need to recruit and retain officials in a modern process.

UKA recognised that for the officials world to progress, they must invest funding and include the direct input of officiating experts and this is what UKA has done and the conference has proved successful and fruitful over the years along with the Education Sub Groups and Peer Groups.  There are no doubt still challenges to overcome but working together we can tackle any issue in a progressive and constructive manner.  There is always an open door for officials at UKA and the Technical Committee members contact details are on the website.

At the conference last Sunday, Geoff Wightman, Chairman of Run Britain and Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Athletics delivered the keynote speech to open the conference.  Geoff explained the background to Run Britain including its objectives and how it will affect endurance officials.  UKA and Run Britain are working on improving the Endurance Officials education and training pathway.  Geoff finished his keynote speech with a quiz which was well received by all delegates.

The first workshop session included; Endurance Chip timing, Photo finish, Disability, Level 3 Induction and Event Management.  The Endurance Chip timing workshop was lead by Steve Marshall of HS Sports .  The workshop was very hands on with delegates able to view and handle different chips and it also made comparisons to technologies used in other sports.

The disability workshop ‘2012 Paralympic Games and how do we get there’ chaired by Chris Cohen was very well attended and it was pleasing to receive positive comments on the feedback forms in relation to this workshop which discussed IPC Classification and IPC Rules.

Following the workshops was a session on level 1 best practice.  Margaret Werrett presented the first half on behalf of Gemma Werrett the Young Officials Development Officer (YODO) and Ralph Burrows delivered the second part.  Gemma’s presentation detailed the expected outcomes from the second year of the project.  Ralph’s presentation highlighted how to deliver the level 1 course to young people and also how to mentor young officials.

Terry Colton, Athletics Competition Manager London 2012 and UKA non –executive Board member had the tricky post lunch slot.  Terry played a very funny 5 minute video which was recorded before the Sydney Olympics about a ‘94 metre track’.  The video had the desired effect and the whole delegation was laughing loudly throughout.  Terry then went on to describe the progress on construction of the Olympic venues and showed how it is expected to look upon completion.  He also detailed the task ahead in adequately staffing the athletics at the Olympics both for the Track and Field Competition as well as the Race Walking and Olympic Marathons.

Workshop session 2 followed with; Event management, Call Room, Mentoring, and Seeding.  The Call room session led by David Brown and Wendy Haxell was an interactive session that was both informative and delivered with humour.  The stage was set with a make shift call room and props were used to make it authentic.  Delegates from the floor played the role of athletes and an interactive discussion was held about incidents that occurred including; a mobile phone ringing in an athlete’s bag, incorrect vests and spikes and an athlete’s number that had been tampered with to name just a few.

There was an opportunity for all officials to ask questions to the panel at the end of the Conference, this is always a great opportunity to glean any information that may have been missed.

The presentations from the conference can be viewed by clicking on the attachments below.  The date of next years conference has already been set as suggested by the officials.  Date for your diary is SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2010, West Midlands Venue.

Follow this link to view presentations from the day.