Let me start at the end!! The 14th-seeded Latvians advanced to their country’s first-ever SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match by posting one of the 2009 season’s biggest upsets by eliminating top-seeded Alison Cerutti and Harley Marques of Brazil from gold medal contention 21-18, 17-21 and 17-15 win, in the semi’s, in 63 minutes. The Latvians then lost to the Russian’s in the final, but this was their best finish and probably the worst finish for the Brazilian’s who had three teams in the men’s competition!
In the women’s competition the Norwegian girls did extremely well. A local girl from Kristiansand, Nila Hakedal and her partner Ingrid, got to the semi-finals and had fantastic local support, but they were beaten by a very good Brazilian team Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes who went on to win the tournament.
And so onto why I was really there! I scored some fantastic matches during the event and was lucky enough to be on centre court all day on the Thursday, which was the start of the televised sessions. Before each match we (officials) had to agree what to wear. Looking presentable and wearing the same uniforms was important for the sponsors and the cameras.
It was good to see a few familiar faces at the event such as Greg Thompson and Andries Pienaar from England. Both are referring on the FIVB World Tour circuit and are gaining valuable knowledge of how FIVB events are organised. One thing that Greg and I spoke about was the communication element of being a scorer. It is understandable that, for scorers, we focus on how to fill in a score sheet correctly, but we probably do not focus enough on communication and observing the game. For example, a scorer should listen when the coin toss is conducted and have an understanding of which team is to serve and from what side. They should be aware of a team losing a few points and may be looking for a timeout. A scorer should be ready to tell the 2nd referee whether a team has taken their timeout. Andreas Myredal, the referee manager, explained how every score sheet at the end of each day was meticulously scrutinized and any error, no matter how small, was then questioned. He explained how a score sheet might be completed correctly with no errors, however if the 2nd referee felt that the communication had been poor between himself and the scorer and the assistant (the person who flips the scoreboard and shows the paddle number of the next server) then a perfect score would not be given.
I also spoke to one referee about line judge techniques. He described how line judges in Beijing would use their flag in such an authoritative and assertive way that their decision was less likely to be questioned. He also explained how important it was for line judges to keep an eye on the ball mark in case the call was protested and to look for touches off the block during the rally. These are all simple things but so important for keeping the game flowing.
All of this reminded me of the importance of pre-tournament training clinics and what information is provided to scorers and line judges at these sessions. Being observant and communicating well are essential parts of the training.
It was great to see friends of mine representing GB. Morph, Zara, Shauna, Denise, Lucy, Gregg, Robin, Helen and Liane I knew from playing on the Scottish and English Beach Volleyball tours. The first time I saw Lucy and Denise (with Morph as their coach) at Kristiansand was when I came on to score the match after they had finished playing theirs on centre court. I wanted to go up and say hi, but I had a job to do and had to concentrate on my scoring duties first.
Many of you will know Shauna Mullin from the indoor and beach scenes in Scotland. Previously playing for City of Edinburgh, Shauna decided to take her beach volleyball career further and moved down to Bath to be involved in the GB development programme. Shauna is now playing on the FIVB World Tour with her partner Zara Dampney.
Playing in their first international Beach Volleyball Main Draw since the end of April in Shanghai with failing to qualify in their last six FIVB World Tour starts, Shauna and Zara validated their qualifying win with upset victories over teams from Norway and Brazil to secure a ninth-place finish at the event. A fantastic result for them.
This was a great experience for me and I have learned a lot, which I can pass onto others in the UK and take with me to the CEV English Masters and FIVB World Under-21 events in Blackpool (9th – 20th Sept).
If you want to train to become a line judge or a scorer and be part of the team for the Olympics in 2012 then please contact the SVA Office for more details.