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Diary: Field Judges’ Professionalism?
  • April 24th, 2007

An online diary contribution by our Team Singapore athlete, Johan specializing in the javelin

Hi all, it’s me Johan again. I’m going to write about some observations that I made in the recently concluded National Juniors’ Track and Field Championships.

Firstly, let me clarify this. All due respect is given to SAA and to the all the officials around. This is not a post to talk bad or “flame” or even criticize them. This is just an observation I have made on myself and also a thought of one of my fellow throwers. It is a feedback and feedbacks are meant to improve standards.

Alright, now to the main topic. In competitions, athletes are expected to have seemly behavior and bear a good image of the sport, and of course, the institutes that they are representing. I think this applies to the same for the officials as well. Now I’m not saying that officials are not doing their job well. In fact, we do have to be grateful that they are around and are willing to take time off their busy schedules to help out in the meets that we have, else we will have no one officiating the events and hence, no competition will be possible. And I am indeed grateful for them.

However, the problem we have is that some of the officials just want to get the job done quickly and the welfare and the benefit of athletes are not taken care of. For example, there is this particular official that rushes the athletes to get things done. This has caused my juniors to be flustered and affected their concentration on the event. The incident went like this: my juniors just reported to the arena and it happened to be their turn to have the warm up trial. The judge told them in a rather harsh tone these words: “Alright, if you’re not here and interested then forget it.” and she went on to the next competitor in line. This caused my juniors to think that their warm up trial has been forfeited and anyone who thinks this will definitely be affected adversely.

Another incident is that when the athlete is preparing for his trial and is already concentrating, this judge started to shout to the athletes waiting for their turn. The shouting and calling out did not stop even when the athlete has started his run-up. This is obviously unprofessionalism. This did not happen once but according to one of my fellow throwers, happened to this athlete as well. Now I have suffered injustices from such officials in the past and have lost the gold medal because of judges not paying attention to the event that they are officiating. I believe that any athlete will not be happy with this type of incidents happening to them.

Yet another case that happened was that the competing athlete was made to go get water all because the officials refused to refill the cooler, which is meant for all the athletes and even the officials. As we all can see, all officials on the field events have student helpers and they could have gotten one of them to do such chores. If the athlete went to get water for himself, then it is justifiable but the water is meant for all. This way, the athlete is also affected and energy which could have well been used in his attempts in the competition to better his performance might have been wasted. I fully understand that this is a small matter but I still stand my ground that it is not the athletes’ responsibility and that athletes should not be made to do this kinda chores, during their events.

Once again, this is just some observations made and I hope that these sort of things can be improved upon as it will affect performance of our athletes and also it is what we call professionalism. We should put in our best in things that we do. We put in effort to train and to better our performances, to go out to fight for the glory of the nation but yet, there are some officials who aren’t. Truly we have to give them due respect but I also think that sometimes, respect has to be earned.

Johan

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Posted by Shifeng.
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