Binan, Philippines, September 9, 2016 – The “SMM” 2016 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship became a tough training ground for the 12 referees as they officiate the best ever assembly of top-level women’s clubs in the continent.
There is a diverse group of referees in the competition as there are differences in the level of experience. It is also the tournament with most female referees than male referees.
“The Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship gathered five male referees and seven female referees,” well-experienced Thai referee Jirasak Pumduang said. “Although there is a difference in our levels, as some are experienced and some are after leveling up, the experiences that we have gained here from our mentors and in the actual top-level matches, will help us become better referees.”
Japanese referee Nahoko Watanabe, an International Candidate Referee, is grateful of the exposure, as this is her first step into the international stage.
“I had great experience here because I have never officiated in an international match,” Watanabe said. “This is a different experience for me. I think after this tournament, I need to learn more. To be a good referee, theoretical and practical sessions would provide the foundation, but you need to learn from officiating actual matches.”
Malaysia’s International Candidate Referee, Ahmad Muhammad Fathi, believes that every session with their mentors and matches in the club championship is an important ingredient in honing his officiating skills.
“I’ve had a very good experience here,” Fathi said. “I learned a lot from the other senior referees and, at the same time, I received good advice from the Referee Delegate and Sub-Committee Members, which can help me improve my skills in the future.”
Fathi, who works as an investment banker, thinks that the characteristics of a good referee can be practically applied in his job.
“I work as a bank executive and I love volleyball because I used to be a junior team player,” Fathi said. “I chose a different path in the sport as a referee after I got injured as a player.”
“I learned a lot from being a referee. You must be disciplined, honest and punctual as a referee. For me, these are good characteristics of a referee that can help me with my job as an investment banker. Being involved in the financial business, you need to have integrity, which means you must be honest and punctual. Also, you need to respond on any query quickly, just like when a player approaches you to make a fair and quick decision in the match.”
Fathi also highlighted the importance of setting goals to gain results, which he applies in life and as a referee.
“I always set my personal goals,” Fathi said. “After graduating from the university, I’ve set a target to be a bank manager and I’ve achieved it. As a referee, I’ve also set my target to become an international referee. I think I am on the right track because now I am already an International Candidate Referee, but first I need to have a good performance and hopefully I can be nominated in more competitions.”
Fathi values the lessons he learned from the tournament and hopes to spread a positive change in his country.
“When I go back to Malaysia, I will talk to the chairman of the refereeing commission of the national federation so that we can start updating our local referees. We need to upgrade our level as referees and follow the standards of the FIVB and the AVC. I learned a lot from this tournament and I hope I can bring good knowledge from this tournament to my country.”
Jose Isidro Hugo, the reserve referee for DPR Korea, hopes that with the regular hosting of the Philippines of international competitions, it would also develop the country’s referees.
“I wish that there would be a lot of Filipinos that would excel in this field,” Hugo said. “Likewise, I wish that there will also be continuity in hosting international competitions like this to be able to update our local referees.”
Hugo gave an emphasis on working in unison and focusing on one interpretation of the rules of the game to be able to raise the level of the Filipino referees.
“We need to work in unison and we need to have the same interpretation of the rules of the game, even in collegiate and local competitions,” Hugo explained. “This should be patterned out with the FIVB and the AVC. There should be a unified syllabus that should be in line with the standards of the FIVB and the AVC.”
In more advanced countries like Thailand, the number and level of the referees are relatively high because of the number of competitions being hosted in their country.
“In Thailand, we have many experienced referees because we have hosted many international tournaments,” Pumduang said. “The FIVB Development Center is also in Thailand, which is very easy for our referees to update their knowledge in officiating.”
Pumduang underlined that with these facilities in place, not only Thai referees will benefit but many Asian referees as well.
“I think many Asian referees have a great opportunity to hone their skills and gain more experience,” Pumduang said. “Our region gets big support from the FIVB to organize many seminars and courses for our referees. These seminars and courses can help us reach a high level of officiating.”