As reported in the FIH blog earlier, the FIH was invited to appoint Neutral Umpires to both the Men’s & Women’s Hockey Competitions at the 11th Chinese National Games.
Following on from the report from the Men’s Umpires, the Women’s Umpires - Lynn Cowie-McAlister (AUS), Mariana Reydo (ARG), Stella Bartlema (NED) and Lisette Klaassen (NED) now send their thoughts.
The FIH was invited by the Chinese Hockey Association to send four FIH Umpires to officiate at the Women’s Hockey Competition in the Chinese National Games, which took place in Ji Nan from 10-18 October 2022.
The hockey centre in Ji Nan was of an exceptional standard. It was part of a larger facility which housed several sports, including hockey. This centre provided high quality training and playing facilities. Two water based turfs were situated within an athletics track and were surrounded by accommodation for the athletes. The facilities afforded to the umpires were brand new and in excellent condition.
The Chinese National Games are held every four years, directly after an Olympic Year. To the Chinese athletes, officials and other participants this is considered the ‘Olympics of China’. The event is extremely high prestige with cities bidding to be host to the Games. The capital expenditure put into the Games is incredible, thus ensuring the facilities are world class.
All umpires were required to be in Ji Nan by the 7 October 2022 for pre-Tournament preparations. The Chinese Hockey Association also invited Ermanno Silvano, Chairman of the FIH Umpiring Committee, to provide the briefing to all umpires. This was extremely beneficial to all. This was the first time that China had implemented the new FIH rules at a Tournament which therefore built upon the Umpiring Course which Jan Hadfield (AUS) had conducted earlier in the year in Lushan, Dalian.
12 teams participated at the National Games. The standard of play was extremely high. The Chinese Umpires displayed enthusiasm throughout the entire Tournament. The camaraderie amongst the umpires’ panel and the friendship shown towards the four visiting umpires was first class.
The Chinese Hockey Association is providing resourcing to their umpires which will ensure continued development at all levels. They also provided an amazing amount of hospitality to all guests at their National Games. There were too many memorable moments to mention. This experience gave all four FIH umpires many events to reflect upon both on and off the pitch. This opportunity was definitely a highlight in all four FIH Umpires’ careers.