Call for new athletics officials to join the action
PUBLISHED: 10:10 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 31 May 2019
Alan Bell - the race starter who once disqualified Usain Bolt at a World Championships - is urging sports fans in London to become running and athletics officials.
And, like himself, they can then be at the heart of the action at events across the country.
Officials: The Beating Heart of Athletics is a new campaign highlighting how running and athletics fans can now qualify as an event official and learn from the best through England Athletics' classroom and practical experience qualification programme.
Those interested can find out how to train to start races, keep time, judge events and keep things fair with your local England Athletics club at englandathletics.org/officiating.
And a level one qualification session for track and field judges is being held at Allianz Park on Sunday July 28. Sessions cost £20 and qualification takes 4-5 hours.
Officials have to then take part in a minimum of four competitions per year to keep their licence.
Being an official means no-one is closer to the action or the athletes than you. Becoming a licensed official is a hugely rewarding role that sees many benefits, including being one of the first ones to find out the results - and seeing the excitement of the athletes as they secure PBs and medals.
On a personal level, officiating is a great way to meet new people and there is a great sense of camaraderie amongst the athletics community.
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Bell is leading the call for more officials and said: "I have been an official for over 30 years now since I stopped competing and have been involved in some of the biggest events and races around the world.
"Remember, without officials there wouldn't be any results, PBs or medals for anyone from Olympians to those competing at your local town's athletics events.
"I would encourage anyone interested in running and athletics to give officiating a try - whether you used to compete, want to make new friends or one of your family members competes and you want to be involved yourself.
"Whatever your inspiration, take your Level 1 course and see where officiating can take you."
There are a variety of different officiating roles across track and field events, as well as cross country racing. You could be a Race Starter like Alan Bell, or a Field Judge, Track Judge, Timekeeper or Photo Finish.
There are four easy steps to becoming an official; attend a half day Level 1 Qualification course, gain your competition experience at 4 events, complete a DBS check and submit your paper work to become licensed. Complete these and you're ready to officiate in your local community.
Throughout your qualification you'll be fully supported by the education team at England Athletics. Once you have been on a course in your local area, your County Officials' Secretary (COfSec) will be your first point of contact and will encourage and assist you in finding four athletics events to attend to complete your qualification. At these events you'll have the opportunity to shadow and learn from other qualified officials, meet likeminded people and have some fun.
There are a variety of levels of officiating, from Level 1 through to Level 5 where you are able to officiate at an international standard and could find yourself on the start line at a future Olympic Games.
To find out more, please visit: www.englandathletics.org/officiating.