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Referees News 2012

Posted 15th February 2012
Chief Referee's Report from the European Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan

My first day of travel was from Manchester to Heathrow where I met up with the delegation and squad and we all flew out to Baku together. Upon arrival we were greeted by snow, coldness and bitter winds!

After a couple of hours on the coach we finally arrived at the hotel, the trip should have been 20 mins but our driver couldn't find the hotel! We had a midnight snack and then went to bed. The following day after donning my trusty thermals I headed out with Shaun and Debbie (chaperones) in search of somewhere to change money and find a supermarket. After 30 mins of walking approx 500 meters in what that felt more like an arctic adventure we slipped and slid our way into a bank which unfortunately informed us they had no money! We then had to try and walk up the hill to the next one which was quite a challenge as we kept sliding back down.

Thursday I met up and observed the Kata squad, I gave some input to help them know what the judges might be looking for. In the afternoon I went to take my Kata theory exam which would enable me to retain my qualification for a further two years, to my surprise I found out I had to retake my Kumite exam as well. I passed both. I attended the referees briefing where there was a lot of debate about the new rule changes.

Friday was the first day of the competition. I arrived at the stadium which I can only politely describe as basic and cold! I will spare you all the in-depth description of the toilet facilities but if I say shiko-dachi stance... I will leave the rest to your imaginations. The morning started with kata and chair two on tatami two became known as the Siberia chair as it was positioned next to the door and none of the referees wanted to sit on it. I ended the day with two finals.

Saturday was still as cold. I had a productive day which resulted in four Kumite finals and one Kata final which was an extremely close match.

Sunday was a tad warmer and a slightly shorter day for me but I was still chosen for three Kumite finals and the team male Kata final.

In general the new rules seemed to work OK even with the new jogai change, lots of fighters were using front hand techniques and hook kicks and the cheating was non existent which is very good news.

I watched the squad throughout the three days and can report they were professional and behaved exemplary throughout; at the end of each day they all waited for me so we could travel on the coach together which I greatly appreciated. It was a pleasure to work with the squad, chaperone's and the coaches and I was made to feel welcome and to be part of the team.

All in all I had a good competition and was chosen to referee some of the important matches.

Dale Gamble
Chief referee

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