Ara Administrator top official at 2018 Commonwealth Games

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14 Nov 2017

In April next year, Kathryn Fraser will reach a milestone in her track and field career, as she officiates at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Kathryn first applied to attend the Games as a track umpire and she was thrilled when the International Association of Athletics Federation offered her the role of race walk judge, a coveted invitation only position.

Kathryn Fraser will swap her day job at Ara for an official role at the 2018 Commonwealth Games next April.

With eight years on her resume as an international umpire, Kathryn is one of New Zealand’s top track officials. Her passions lie out on the track and field where she volunteers in a role that is worlds apart from her day job, as Administrator in the Academic Services Division for Ara.

“I’ve been officiating in Australia for a number of years, so I’m well known to the ‘powers that be’ within the selection committees. These Commonwealth Games are definitely going to be my biggest, most prestigious event to date.”

Kathryn is a level two international judge, and she even applies her administration skills as Chairperson on the National Officials Association for Athletics. Her grading has enabled her to officiate at numerous events within Oceania, including the 2011 World Para Athletics Championships in Christchurch and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Reflecting on her experiences Kathryn says, “I’m very privileged to be able to officiate at these kinds of events. I have seen some extremely inspirational athletes, and some great feats. I have to say watching the para athletes, and seeing people somersaulting over the high jump with one leg was incredible.”

“I’m one of only five New Zealand officiates who have been selected for athletics, out of a total of 180, so I’m very lucky. Obviously you have to put in the hard yards so that they know you are worthy of the role. In a way it’s a reward for all the effort I’ve put in,” Kathryn says.

Officiating athletics is a mentally, and at times physically demanding job. “As a race walk official we’ve got to keep ourselves fit so we can last out in the sun for up to 5-6 hours at a time. We also have to be constantly aware of what’s going on. That’s where the mental tiredness can come in.”

Despite these challenges, Kathryn loves the thrill of watching the athletes compete, and has her sights set on watching a few key competitors for the upcoming Games.

“I am really looking forward to seeing shot-putters Tom (Walsh), and Jacko Gill, and of course Val who will be back into the sport. There are also a couple of New Zealand racewalkers competing, who I will get to see in action. I’ll be totally unbiased of course.”

“So yeah that’s my reward, seeing the athletes move up the ranks. My job as an official is to ensure they’re given as fair a playing field as they can get.”

Since she has now reached officiating at Commonwealth Games level, Kathryn has her sights set even higher for the future.

“Next year is the assessment of the international level three walk judges, so I’m hoping it will be my turn to take that next step up and attend a lot more events like the Olympics, and World Champs.”

Kathryn encourages Ara students who are interested in sport performance, sport management and exercise science to get involved in officiating.

“It’s certainly something to aspire to if you’re a sport minded person. You get to go and live the Games or the World Champs, and although you might not be out on the field you’re there in the background as part of the events.”