There was an international flavor to the recent 21/U National Netball Championships on the Sunshine Coast with two Singapore umpires among the umpiring panel.
As part of Netball Australia’s ongoing commitment to developing the level of umpiring in the Asian Region, Yani Abdullah and Yu Bee Ling spent the week officiating with some of Australia’s up-and-coming umpires at the tournament.
Netball Australia is committed to working with international netball nations to build their capacity to contribute to a strong and well governed sport all around the world.
“Working with the Asian Region to develop their umpires also contributes to the International Netball Federation’s priority to support and develop quality officiating worldwide and increase the number of international umpires,” Netball Australia’s Head of Sport Development AnneMarie Phippard said.
The experience of officiating games at the Australian 21/U championships will help both Abdullah and Ling with their progression through the umpire accreditation framework to the international level.
It wasn’t the first experience of umpiring in Australia for both either of the pair; they both officiated in New South Wales State League matches and also at the 17/U and 19/U national titles in 2013.
As part of the experience the pair was also mentored by former international umpire Chris Burton, who is part of the Asian Region International Testing Panel.
Abdullah and Ling were part of the 2013 World Youth Cup panel and were the reserve umpires for last year’s Constellation Cup series between Australia and New Zealand.
Abdullah said the pair is grateful for any chance to officiate at a higher level.
“We’re just thankful and enjoying all the opportunities given to us by Netball Australia and Netball Singapore. We’re taking every step at a time and enjoying the ride,” Abdullah said.
Ling is a former member of Singapore’s 21/U national squad. She turned to umpiring in 2006 and said the speed of the game is the noticeable difference between the two countries.
“It is 10 times faster than Singapore,” Ling said. “Australian players just love going for the ball. We have to step up and keep up with the game.”
The pair is also grateful for the opportunity to work with Burton and ready to soak up all the tips and bits of advice she passes on before, during and after matches.
“Chris is a really good lady, very patient with us and her guidance has been really fantastic so far,” Abdullah said. “She’s been there every step of the way from when I got my B badge to now. I know her words are pieces of golden nuggets and you learn a lot from being with her.”
The pair’s next major competition is the South-East Asian Games in June, being held in Singapore.
“It’s the first time that netball has been part of these games for 20 years so that will be a very exciting time,” Abdullah said.