Athletics Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Athletics Technical Officials Association (NIATOA) are delighted to announce that they will have 11 officials participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games which start in 2 weeks time. They are Joy Alexander, Ian Atkinson, Bob Brodie, Pam Brown, Andrea Heaslip, Brenda Houston, Joyce Mack, Robin Mack, Janette Mc Clughan, Andrew Minnis, and Philip West.
These 11 officials are involved in the Games in several different roles. There will be 6 going as National Technical Officials (NTO’s) and 5 as Games Makers athletic volunteers going to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Of the National Technical Officials attending, we will have 3 members of the track team – Ian Atkinson, Pam Brown and Philip West. This group will be deciding the winners of the races including the blue ribbon event- the men’s 100 metres. They will also be looking for infringements like competitors cutting the corner by running inside their lane. Pam who was this year’s UK Athletics Officials ‘Official of the Year’ is one of the team leaders and is in charge of one of a group of 7 other officials.
Joy Alexander and Robin Mack are part of the field officiating group. They will be judging the various throwing and jumping events. Whether it is checking if Goldie Sayers throw is legal or measuring Phillips Idowu winning jump, they will be there.
Pam, Philip, Joy and Robin will also be officiating at the Paralympics where they will be joined by Andrew Minnis. Andrew who was this year’s UK Athletics Young Official. He recently got a call from one of the two men tasked with running the whole of the Olympics and Paralympics athletics programme inviting him to officiate as part of the starter / marksman team.
Robin Mack says
“The opportunity to officiate at both the Olympics and the Paralympics; is fantastic, but I just happen to be in the right country, at the right time, with the right qualifications and lucky enough to be selected. It has to be the pinnacle of anyone’s officiating career and the atmosphere will be brilliant. I feel privileged to be able to represent the sport of athletics in Northern Ireland on the world stage, and to bring that experience back to help the next generation of officials and athletes make their mark.”
The 5 Games Makers volunteers (Bob Brodie, Andrea Heslip, Brenda Houston, Joyce Mack, and Janette Mc Clughan) will be fulfilling various very important support roles during the Games and Paralympics. These include such diverse roles as a call steward checking the athletes’ numbers and equipment, escorting them to the stadium, team and media information centre, Team Leader for the athletics Field of Play at Olympic Stadium, and marshalling for the Marathon.
All the Games Makers are qualified technical officials and will be utilising their numerous skills in helping to provide a smooth running and memorable Games for both the athletes and the spectators. They have been through a rigorous selection process as well as completing training programmes in London and will be an important part in the Games.
Brenda Houston commented:
“I am delighted to be selected as a volunteer Games Maker for the London 2012 Olympics. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead, working as part of a team and hopefully meeting some of the athletes. The Special Olympic Club athletes will be asking me lots of questions so I hope to have lots to tell them!”
Athletics NI’s Catherine Crawford who is currently the Talent Development Officer for the organization is also volunteering for a number of weeks. She was offered a Team GB voluntary post in ‘Events’, working with the GB athletes after they have finished competing. With only one other Northern Irish Team GB Volunteer, Catherine was delighted to get the position. She had to go through two rounds of interviews in London before finding out the good news.
She said “I am delighted to have been given the voluntary position with Team GB events. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the Olympics and I look forward to doing everything I can to support the team”.