23rd September 2013
Promising signs of growth in British refereeing
Matthew Abrahams, 13, this month refereed the final of the Essex Open, one of the season's top senior domestic foil competitions. Since he was born in 2000 Matthew was too young to compete at the event. However, during the summer he had received refereeing coaching from Mike Ellis and passed his level two refereeing examination. He agreed with the competition organisers to use his new skills at the intermediate event. On the day, the officials asked him to help out with the Open senior poules and he did so well that they then asked him to continue refereeing. By the last 16, fencers were asking specifically for him to referee their bouts. He then officiated a last 8 and a semi-final. The two finalists then asked if Matthew could referee the final, given he had performed so impressively during the competition. He received a loud cheer of thanks at the awards ceremony.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience refereeing at Essex and I look forward to next year when I can compete," said Matthew.
Graham Paul, Board Director responsible for refereeing matters, added; “The Referees Committee wish to increase the number of referees to ensure that there are enough to cope with the demand. Matthew’s fantastic achievement is an example of what can be done and I hope that it acts as an inspiration to other fencers who aspire to referee.”
Competition organizer, Bob Bales was delighted to see someone so young refereeing a competition that he has been involved with for 35 years. He said; “The competition organisers would like to pass on our congratulations to Matthew for not only performing so well but for having the finalists asking for him to referee. Also, our thanks to the fencers for accepting such a young man on his ability and not considering his age. Well done Matthew.”
You can find out more about becoming a referee here.