Oceania Athletics is proud to introduce our 3 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Technical Officials. One of which has already been to Tokyo and back!

Caroline Jackman (AUS) – ITO (Field Referee)
Ruth Liong (NZL) – Technical Delegate
Trevor Spittle (NZL) – ITO (Field Referee)

Ruth Liong:

How many Paralympics have you been appointed to?
2016 Rio Paralympics was my first Games – I was an ITO, serving as referee for the secured throws – club, shot, javelin and discus.

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
“I enjoy the atmosphere of officiating at a big event and meeting up with colleagues from around the world. To watch athletes develop into more mature athletes is a real treat, and as an official, you have the best seat in the house. You couldn’t be any closer to the action!

How did you start officiating?
My journey started with humble beginnings at St Andrew’s College children’s athletics club some 20 years ago, with my 12-year-old daughter, who had shown sprinting promise, had joined the school athletics club. Still, with mum “bored” hanging around the track, she used her initiative and asked if she could do anything to help. That day she was handed a rake to smooth the sand in the long jump pit, and so began her path that today has led her to Tokyo and the top table at the Paralympic Games.

Any advice for officials?
Athletics is not like other sports; it is multi-faceted; in athletics, you have horizontal jumps, vertical jumps, throws, the track, so many different events with different rules. There is something for everybody. You can achieve as little or as much as you want – that is the beautiful thing about officiating.

Caroline Jackman

How many Paralympics have you been appointed to?
2020 will be the first Olympic\Paralympic games that I have been appointed to – my debut.

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
Besides the front row seat to the best para-athletes in the world, I always look forward to catching up with the other officials that have become friends over the years.

How did you start officiating?
I started officiating while I was still competing, as we did not have enough officials. My first Nationals was Dec 2000 (post-Sydney Olympics) when we had the Australian All Schools in Adelaide. Everyone else was having a break after doing all the Nationals etc, leading up to the Olympics.

Any advice for officials?
Enjoy what you do. Make good friends. Talk to the people that have been there before to learn everything that you can. Always be willing to learn and share your experiences.

Trevor Spittle (AUS) – International Technical Official (Field Referee)

My first significant event was Sydney 2000. No other Olympics until now, but many World Champs and Commonwealth Games. I also did Rio Paralympics and the Para World Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
The Olympics. Being able to attend the event. It can’t be any better. Seeing the top athletes compete and fulfilling my role to ensure all athletes have an equal opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

How did you start officiating?
My kids were a part of Papanui Redwood (now Papanui Toc H club), and I don’t know if you have ever been to QE II Stadium, but it could be cold in that stand. So, when the call came for volunteers, I was happy to help, and that first day I worked as a timekeeper. Within two years, I was meeting manager, but that is typical of me; if I’m going to do something, I dive deep into it.

A bit of advice for officials starting?
Just go out there and enjoy yourself. It can be a great feeling, and you can do as much as you want. I never thought I would get to this level.
Stay safe; it can be dangerous if you don’t stay focused. Finally, I encourage officials to keep learning new skills – never stop learning.

Read Trevors wrap up from the Olympics here: https://athletics-oceania.com/07/08/16054/