SA rowing officials selected for international Jury duties
The World Rowing Federation, Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron (FISA), is the international body responsible for governing the sport of rowing. In particular FISA is responsible for setting the rules and regulations of rowing in all forms and overseeing World Rowing events.
Every year FISA, through its Umpiring Commission, allocates International Umpires from all over the world to sanctioned World Rowing regattas to ensure that when athletes arrive at these competitions they are met with trained and professional officials. 2019 is an even more important year as it brings with it the last stages of preparation for countries for qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Each year Rowing South Africa (RowSA) has been fortunate enough to have a number of its officials selected to umpire at these competitions, showing the strength of our officials set up, and 2019 is no different. South Africa’s newest international umpire, Kyle Hanck, has been appointed to the juries of two international competitions namely the World Rowing Cup II, to be held in Poznan (Poland) from 21 to 23 June, and the African Olympic and Paralympic Games Qualification Regatta, to be held in Tunis (Tunisia) from 3 to 6 October.
Kyle was extremely happy to hear about this appointment to these competitions explaining that:
“Firstly, it’s an honor to be chosen to be on the FISA Jury. Particularly in such an important year given that it’s an Olympic qualification year. I am definitely excited for this, particularly since it will be my first competition as a FISA umpire. Of course, I am a little nervous, but I am definitely looking forward to it!”
South Africa’s second appointee was Kwa-Zulu Natal Rowing Association member Adrian Higgins who is scheduled to officiate the year’s most important regatta, the World Rowing Championships which will be held in Linz-Ottensheim (Austria) between 25 August and 1 September. As well as being the last international regatta of the season, this competition will be the major focus of all rowing nations as it comes with it the greatest number of qualifying spots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking about what it like to be selected to officiate at such a prestigious competition:
“I am honoured to have been offered the opportunity to perform officiating duties at the World Championships in Linz, Austria later this year. Not everyone is an international athlete so to be afforded the chance to witness their achievements from close at hand is a unique privilege. As an official the athlete’s safety and right to fair competition rests on your shoulders, to be a facilitator in that process is a truly wonderful experience.
What started for me as an intriguingly different sport at school has culminated in a lifelong passion for rowing.”
Both Kyle and Adrian spoke highly of the opportunities that RowSA and the South African Rowing Officials Commission (SAROC) had given them in obtaining these appointments with Kyle giving “Special thanks must go to the USSA-Rowing Umpires Association, SAROC and RowSA for their continued encouragement and support” and Adrian elaborating that “the thrill [he] seeing youngsters in KZN starting out and knowing that a World Championship awaits them down the line. RowSA provided me with the opportunity to become an International Umpire the possibility of becoming one is available to anyone, but it requires hard work”. Adrian also went on to emphasis that the best part of his job was “being able to make a difference in the safety if our sport”.
Should any athletes, supporters or parents wish to get involved in umpiring at South African, please get in contact with your club or provincial rowing association!