There are many reasons to get involved with Officiating – being part of a community, learning more about the sport, making new friends, and experiencing something new. We caught up with two of our amazing Officials Jared Flannery and Vina Desai to find out a bit more about their journey in the sport. Jared is a Level 1 Starter, Level 2 Starter’s Assistant and Level 1 Endurance Official and Vina is Level 3 Track Judge and Level 2 Field Judge. Jared and Vina spoke to us about their inspiration to becoming involved in the sport and why they decided to progress along the Officiating pathway.
Q: Where did you get your passion for athletics?
Jared: “I’ve always been passionate about athletics. Both of my brothers competed at a high level, so I’ve been around athletics tracks since the age of three. I then got into Officiating when I was 14.”
Q: What motivated you to become an Official?
Vina: “I started Officiating as a volunteer parent. Both my children have been involved in athletics since they were in the under-13 age group. I completed my Officiating course in 2016 and qualified as a Level 1 track Official in 2017. I then did a field Officiating course in 2018 and qualified as a Level 1 in 2019. I have recently Officiated at a few club fixtures, local league, school events, and the NAL league with Trafford AC as my daughter runs for them. “
Jared: “When I was at a lot of athletics events, there was an Official called Alan Bell. I used to follow him around and carry his bag for him at events and from there he encouraged me to become an Official and take the Officiating course.”
Q: How have you found the journey from athlete to Official?
Jared: “It was quite smooth because I knew a lot of the Officials already from competing. I also knew a bit about the way that Officials worked as well because of being an athlete.”
Vina: “I enjoy meeting different people and giving something back to athletics. My children had a good time when they were young doing sports but without any Officials it would not have happened.”
Q: What advice would you give to others looking to get involved?
Jared: “I’d say just go for it. There are many ways to becoming an Official and you won’t be disappointed in the opportunities available to everyone and help that you receive from other Officials at events.”
Q: What, in your opinion, are the main benefits of becoming a qualified Official?
Vina: “The benefits I got are that you can understand events better. Whenever I Officiate, I learn by doing things and if I don’t understand I always ask so I gain my knowledge about different disciplines.”
Featured image: Aleksandra Szmigiel (Roster Athletics)