This year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou delivered plenty of tremendous action on the squash court, but also proved to be a brilliant opportunity for the development of referees and officials in the Asian region.
Spanning a 10-day period, the 19th edition of the Asian Games included five different squash events that took place across five all-glass singles courts and three all-glass doubles courts.
We spoke to WSO Professional Referee & Development Lead Roy Gingell to discuss his work for the WSO at the Asian Games and find out what the appraising and education process looks like.
What were your main roles and responsibilities at the Asian Games?
Roy Gingell: “My main role was to observe, educate, train and offer support to all the referees attending the Asian Games, both in singles and doubles squash.
“I also provided an update on the WSO appraising system to Asia’s key appraisers, which is currently being developed.”
When providing education and training to Asian referees, what did these workshops consist of?
RG: “The education consisted of various workshops on current interpretations and key movement patterns, current doubles rules, an appraisal clinic for current Asian appraisers, and a match management workshop.
“I also held key feedback sessions after the event, including observations and good housekeeping tips for all referees.
“Overall, I carried out 45 appraisals on the 16 Asian referees who attended, providing an overview on performances which were based on matches appraised.”
What are you looking for when appraising referees?
RG: “We have a set of 17 different criteria on our WSO appraisal sheet, consisting of both technical and presentation skills.
“In summary, we are looking for consistent decision making (technical criteria) and solid match management (presentation skills).”
How exciting was it to have so many officials helping out at the Asian Games?
RG: “To see both new and experienced referees given the opportunity from different parts of Asia is really refreshing, and they’re all very keen and willing to start learning on their refereeing journey.
“There were 30 officials in total at the Asian Games, 19 from the Asian Squash Federation and 11 more from the Chinese Squash Association.”
Are events such as the Asian Games key for the development of referees in the Asian region?
RG: “Yes, events within every continent are key for the development of referees. This continental pathway is a main strand on the journey of Asian referees to the elite level.
“Within Asia, they have a strong calendar of WSF, PSA and ASF events, which enables their federations to supply referees, monitor improvement and offer education and training along the way.
“I see great opportunities to further the development of referees within Asia in conjunction with WSO.”
What does the recent LA28 Olympic confirmation mean for the expansion of referees worldwide?
RG: “With the great news of squash’s inclusion in the LA28 Olympics, expanding the refereeing family from around the world will be a key objective of the WSO.
“With the end goal of potentially refereeing in the Olympics, this should support that objective massively.”
Away from the Asian Games, what else does your role as WSO Professional Referee & Development Lead consist of?
RG: “Apart from refereeing at professional events, my role consists of leading the development of referees.
“I lead the appraisal process and appraiser development and education, as well as creating and delivering educational and training content to facilitate a deeper understanding of the rules.
“I also contribute towards developing and implementing refereeing strategies with all member nations.”