𝗛𝗮𝘇𝗲𝗹 𝗠𝗰𝗗𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗹𝗹: 𝗡𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗼𝗼 𝗟𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 Queensland Technical Official Mrs Hazel McDonnell has been a long time Technical Official with Queensland Athletics and the Oceania Athletics Association. She encourages young females to become Technical Officials and wants to see the older generation of Technical Officials receive more opportunities to stay involved in our sport of Athletics.How did you become a Technical Official?I participated in master’s events as an Athlete and then moved into officiating when I was having a few injuries. They were short on numbers and needed some assistance with officials.What sort of barriers have you have faced in becoming a Technical Official?As I started in my mid-life years as a Technical Official, I did not seem to be given as many Professional Development opportunities as were given to younger people, which maybe because I was considered a little older. I had a particular interest in Photo Finish, but this seems to be a very male-dominated area. Men were more inclined to receive the Photo Finish positions at meets, which I had been doing some of my training as a Technical Official. I would like to thank Barry Mullins from Athletics North Queensland for the opportunities and encouragement he gave to me. It would have been helpful and assisted my pathway if I had had someone take an interest and mentor the older generation. Experienced technical officials do give support and assistance to the younger generations coming in, but these younger generations don’t always stay involved for long.Have you been given opportunities as a Technical Official?I am very thankful to the Oceania Athletics Association and Trish Kinnane at Queensland Technical Officials Association, who have been exceptionally good and given me opportunities at their meets and within their education systems.While I don’t think this is an issue, it seems my age is becoming a barrier in the eyes of others, and I am reminded constantly about how old I am.Given you have moved into the area of Technical Officials that requires an ability to work with technology (something the younger generation are more familiar with), how have you adjusted?Again, through OAA, they have provided me with professional development and opportunities with Photo Finish, Meet Manager and TIC. Do you feel as an older female that you may be pigeon-holed into certain Technical Official positions?Yes, I most certainly do, but so long as the opportunities are fair and transparent, I don’t have a problem. Life is not always the way we want it to be.What would you say to current athletes about being or becoming a Technical Official? I would ask them to respect Officials and the Technical crew as without these people, and it would be challenging for Athletes to have a competition.Remember, when you are injured, this is an opportunity to help the Technical Officials, so you possibly can go and help and assist them. You would not be able to run if no one started the gun, or throw if your implement was not put on the field or jump if the sandpit wasn’t raked. Thank you to OAA for giving me this opportunity to express my views and continue to involve me in their education and competition opportunities, as it gives me a sense of belonging.
𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗜𝘀𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 Cook Islands Coach Ms Ruth Tangiiau Mave is more than a coach; she is a strong, dedicated leader for females in the Cook Islands and the Oceania region. Ruth is currently the Federation Secretary of the Cook Islands Athletics Association, has attended Technical Official courses and is now working as the Development Officer for the Cook Islands Athletics Association.Ruth is adding Olympian mother to her long list of achievements when her son competes in the Tokyo Olympics for the Cook Islands in the Canoe Kayak category; we wish Kohl all the best at the Olympics.OAA recently interviewed Ruth to share her journey on becoming a coach and encouraging participation in Athletics in the Cook Islands.How did you become a Coach?I started training my kids when no other coaches were around. I was self-taught; after being elected on the National Executive, I asked OAA about professional development. I was nominated to do some coaching courses which were well above my experience but which I enjoyed and give me the confidence to continue down that path.What sort of barriers have you have faced in becoming a Coach?To be nominated was more about making myself known and speaking to the right people. My Federation’s executive at the time didn’t nominate new people to attend courses, and I felt there wasn’t much support for new people coming into the sport. I started with a Kids Athletics course and ran a regular program for four years; I am constantly thought of as a kids coach, nothing higher, despite my qualifications as CECS LI lecturer and CECS L2 Throws coach.Have you been given professional development opportunities as a Coach?I have attended LI Lecturers refreshers course 2016, L2 Throws & Women’s leadership seminar in 2018, and CECS L2 lecturers in 2019. There have been a couple of courses held by our National Olympic Committee, but I have not attended due to work commitments.Do you feel as a female that you may be pigeonholed into certain Coaching positions? Absolutely. Sometimes it feels like a boy’s club when important roles are available.What would you say to current athletes about being or becoming a Coach?I fully encourage all athletes to look at coaching and have offered them spots in the CECS LI courses I conduct. I have managed to guide 2x males athletes into becoming athletics development officers and providing them with professional development by attending CECS LI courses.As a lecturer, we aim to make the sport exciting and fun, even for the older teenage athlete. When I do this, it can be looked upon as ‘young stuff’ and immature. The male coaches tend to promote boot camps of a repetitive nature and not always in a safe environment. It is difficult, and sometimes I am frowned upon; I try to make suggestions or provide support to ensure athletes do not get injured.When women coaches are focused on the athlete as a person first and winning second, we can be seen as a soft touch and not driving hard enough. Trying to encourage a child to try all events and coax them to grow their potential is all undone when a male figure, father, uncle, brother, rugby coach comes along and has their say. In our culture, what the male says is taken as more genuine and correct. The males are called coach, the females are called by their names or Ms.