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2007 Scholarship Holders

2007 Scholarship Holders

The 2007 scholarship holders have been selected from a cross section of the Australian sporting industry with a total of 11 sports represented including Archery, Football (Soccer), Rugby Union, Gymnastics, Netball, Rugby League, Taekwondo and Volleyball.

Ken Raven - AFL

As an Australian Rules player, Ken Raven says he was far more focused on his own performance and that of his team’s than on the umpires. Now, having umpired himself for 10 years, Ken says that he sees officials are as committed, professional and passionate as any player in the game and that “their goals and reasons for being involved in the sport are much the same as the players”. The Queensland umpire has umpired junior football in Western Australia and Queensland. He will use his National Officiating Scholarship to enhance his skills both here and in South Africa where he is helping with the development of the sport. Ken hopes to lift his umpiring to another level with expert coaching advice from his AFL mentor, Brian Sheehan and his long-term goal is to umpire at the highest level in AFL.

Karen O'Malley - Archery

When she started officiating two years ago, Wollongong archer Karen O’Malley discovered just how much behind the scenes work is done by Judges in her sport. Karen had been an archer for 13 years, and a coach for six, taking up the sport because of its requirement for focus and dedication. She says judges were once almost considered “the enemy” by archers and were associated with punishment and administering penalties.  These days, as an official herself, she sees a change from this punitive style of judging and also sees how much unseen work Judges do to ensure the safety and smooth running of tournaments. Karen says being awarded a National Officiating Scholarship was somewhat daunting and she was unsure how she would make officiating a main focus in her already busy life, but she is “just as pleased for the sport as I am for myself” and has already upgraded her accreditation with the hope of eventually becoming one of four international judges that Australia is allowed by Archery’s international body.

Andy Mellish - BMX

Eleven years ago Mackay-based Andy Mellish drove past a BMX track with his nine-year-old son in the car. His son expressed an interest in having a go at BMX. That small local car trip not only opened up a whole new sport to his son, it opened up opportunities for Andy that have seen him travel all over the world as a BMX official. After a few years as an observer at his son’s races, Andy had watched the officials and thought he could do better. It was a challenge he took on with relish, moving through the ranks to become a Chief Commissar at the Australian Championships and officiate at UCI race meetings in Australia. He says he works hard to be consistent with his officiating and the goal is to “make sure the riders get the rewards they deserve”. Today his son is a coach and Andy is working towards his international accreditation to join the only two other internationally accredited BMX officials in Australia. He says he was surprised and pleased to receive and National Officiating Scholarship to help him achieve his goals.

Steven Gregory - Football

For Steven Gregory, refereeing football is in the blood. His father played the sport at a high level in the United Kingdom and then officiated in Australia, so Kevin began attending matches when he was quite young. He played the sport for 13 years and began officiating himself in 1999. He says with limited opportunities for younger officials to progress, he was “ecstatic” to receive a National Officiating Scholarship from the ASC, saying it “will give me a chance to show what I am capable of doing”. After officiating an international game at the Youth Olympics in Sydney this year, Steven has a taste for officiating at the highest levels and hopes to go on to become a FIFA-ranked international official.

Sara Hodson - Football

When Townsville-based National Officiating Scholarship holder Sara Hodson first became involved with football, it was simply an “opportunity to run around and play with friends”. Now, it may become the sport that takes her to a world cup. Sara has been involved with football since she was six years old. First as a player, then coaching junior football for a number of years. She has refereed since 1999 and recently officiated at the Korea v Japan gold medal match at the 2007 Youth Olympics. Her goal is to gain her FIFA badge and referee a world cup match and she hopes her ASC scholarship will help her realise that dream. “It [the scholarship] will open up many otherwise unavailable opportunities to progress my path as a referee and raise my profile in the sport to hopefully gain nomination for FIFA at the end of the year,” Sara says. To view an interview with Sara that appeared in the Townsville Bulletin newspaper please see related downloads at the bottom of this page.

Andrew Higgins - Gymnastics

Officiating has given Melbourne’s Andrew Higgins an elite role in gymnastics that has extended his involvement in the sport beyond his days as a competitor. Andrew began in gymnastics at the age of three and competed in 10 national championships. He retired from competition last year at the age of 21, but has been coaching and officiating in the sport since he was 18. As a junior gymnast, Andrew says he viewed judges as intimidating and unapproachable, but as he grew older, he came to realise that judges are dedicated people who want to contribute to the sport. He now counts himself among them and hopes to use his National Officiating scholarship to attain international judging accreditation by 2009.

Tammy Corden - Netball

Perth-based Tammy Corden hopes one day to umpire a World Championship or Commonwealth Games Netball match, and says she’ll judge her performance on her ability to allow a fair contest between players. “I guess an official knows they are doing the best job possible when they go unnoticed and the game is played with skill and is allowed to flow” Tammy says. Now 30, Tammy has been umpiring since she was 18 and umpiring at State League level since she was 20. She strongly believes officials play a crucial role in ensuring the professionalism and integrity of any sport. She says if she steps up to the challenge, her National Officiating Scholarship will hopefully help her umpire at National League and expand opportunities that are sometimes limited for a west-coast umpire.

Richard Goswell - Rugby Union

As a forward playing Rugby in the Under 7 Blacks for Wahroonga Rugby Club in NSW, Richard Goswell thought that referees were slightly obese old men whose playing days were well gone. As he got involved in refereeing as a schoolboy, Richard realised that referees at the top were there for a reason—they knew their Law, they were fit and they enjoyed it. Now as a National Officiating Scholarship holder, Richard is having a chance to live the life of a professional referee. The scholarship provides for employment for a year with the Australian Rugby Union, the opportunity to train with elite referees, observe and assist them in pre-match preparation and run the water at Super 14 games in Sydney. Richard hopes one day to referee the Rugby World Cup Final, although admits he would settle for 3rd v 4th playoff if it meant Australia was in the final. (He’s also be happy with a 6 Nations match at Twickenham, an All Blacks Test or refereeing Ireland v England at Lansdowne Road!)

Wayne Gannon - Taekwondo

Little did Brisbane’s Wayne Gannon know that when he took up Taekwondo to provide stress relief outside of university studies 23 years ago, that it would become a consuming part of his life.  Wayne has been a competitor and instructor and has also spent the past 15 years as an official. As a young competitor Wayne looked up to the officials who had a higher Dan, now that he has a higher Dan himself he still has respect for his masters but wonders if many competitors in the sport remember that officials are also masters with higher Dan levels than themselves. The highlight of his officiating career so far was refereeing a final contest in Japan between Korea and Japan and being miked up for a local TV broadcast. He hopes to go a step further and referee at Olympic Games. Wayne was on his honeymoon when he found out he had received a 2007 National Officiating Scholarship and says he was very proud to have been selected.

Michael Tan - Taekwondo

Brisbane’s Michael Tan has represented his country in almost every capacity in Taekwondo. He represented Australia as a player at the 1989 World Championships, was a coach at the 1993 and 1995 World Championships, team manager at the 2001 World Cup and referee at the 1998 and 2006 Commonwealth Games. Michael says he is now concentrating on improving his refereeing qualifications and says it’s an exciting time for the sport, with the possibility of introducing electronic sensors on players for scoring purposes. Michael has already used his National Officiating Scholarship to attend an Electronic Protector International Test even in Korea in March. He hopes eventually to work his way towards his second class international referee qualifications and to referee at the Olympics or World Championships.

Kevin Lentin - Volleyball

Kevin Lentin’s first exposure to the sport of volleyball was when a friend at university physically dragged him onto the court. Today he’s definitely not dragging his heels when it comes to his sport, having been a volunteer administrator, a representative of the Victorian Volleyball League Competition Technical Commission and a former Board Member of Volleyball Victoria. Kevin began as a Volleyball referee in 1994, progressing through local competitions to become a State League referee in 1996 and attending the National Junior Championships. He branched out to beach volleyball in 1997 and also holds Beach Volleyball Accreditation. He was Assistant Scorekeeper at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Women’s Gold Medal Match and hopes one day to officiate at an Olympic Games. For the time being, the Melbourne-based referee wants to use his National Officiating Scholarship as a step towards international accreditation.

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