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Chris Price

My Officiating Journey

I started officiating in athletics in August 2005 whilst watching my son, Marcus, compete in a Welsh Junior League match at the old track in Aberdare. Dave Lester asked me to help him run the High Jump competition as part of the Cwmbran Harriers club duties.  At the time, Dave was helping me coach a Junior football team that our sons both played in, so I readily agreed.

Having enjoyed the first taste, I offered to help at the next match. This time we were looking after the Discus competition and I was hooked. Within weeks, Mary Jones (Cwmbran Harriers) had persuaded Dave and myself to take a short course to become Field officials. After a few evening sessions tutored by Lynette Harries, we sat the old Grade 4 exam. Having achieved a pass, I was qualified as a Technical official.

In the first few years I officiated only during the Summer season due to the ongoing commitment to the football team. After a couple of years Marcus changed football clubs and I gave up my role to concentrate on athletics, both officiating and joining the Cwmbran Harriers committee. Having no football commitments on winter weekends allowed attendance at more indoor meetings at NIAC. These proved to be a great opportunity to work alongside and learn from the various higher graded English officials who supported the events in Cardiff.  Nick & Sally Higman, Roger Lee and Stuart Hodson, to name a few, have provided guidance along the way along with the ‘senior’ Welsh officials at that time, Dave Jessett, Derek Crowder, Lynette Harries and I’m grateful to them for their encouragement and advice.

Picture by Owen Morgan (Dai-Sport)

After a few years, Marcus stopped competing, but didn’t drop out of the sport as he had qualified as a Photo-finish Judge. Meanwhile, my daughter Amy had taken up the Javelin before suffering knee problems forcing her to stop competing.

Although my children no longer competed, I continued to officiate at meetings at all levels from local Open and league meetings to National Championships and this took me over a wide area including Wales, the Midlands and the West Country.

I have continued my development as an Official within Wales, mostly as a Field Judge but also with experience of the competition management roles of Field Referee or Technical Manager and again I thank the many officials that have provided guidance.

Subsequently, I’ve progressed through the Officiating grades and I’m now a Level 4 National Technical Official which means I’m eligible to judge at televised and other large meetings within the UK.

A crowd of people watching a person on a courtDescription automatically generated (Picture from BBC iPlayer)

 In the last few years I officiated on Javelin and High Jump at the ‘Anniversary Games’ in the London (Olympic) Stadium, the Pole Vault and Long Jump at the Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham in February and Discus and Javelin at the British Championships last August and was selected for this year’s Anniversary Games (now cancelled) and the Diamond League meeting in Gateshead.

I still attend all levels of events, especially the Welsh Junior League and Youth Development League, as these meetings provide an opportunity for up and coming officials to develop their officiating skills and knowledge. I’m mentoring new club level officials and helping to develop the future officials.

Indeed, my daughter, Amy, initially started officiating at this level and has since gone on to attain the National level 4 Field Official qualification.  As a young official she has already officiated at World Championships (IAAF and ParaAthletics in 2017 in London) and European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

My experiences have also led to other opportunities. As a volunteer, I was a ‘sport-specific’ GamesMaker at the London Olympics and worked on the athletics track team, preparing the field of play, including setting out hurdles and field event sectors. Also, I’ve freelanced for Seiko’s timing team supporting International events. So far, I’ve worked at the London 2017 World ParaAthletics Championships and the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Finland and would have been working at the Indoor World Championships in Nanjing back in March. 

Whilst days can be long, I enjoy working with athletes of all abilities and meeting the other officials who come from all over the UK, many of whom are now amongst my friends.

There is always a requirement for new officials and other volunteers within the sport, so if you’re interested in getting involved contact your local club.

Take a look at the 'Find a club' page to find a athletics club near you.