‘Why I would recommend becoming an Official to anyone’ – Joyce Wighton

Friday 13th May 2022

Photo via British Athletics

Birmingham-bound! 18 Scottish Officials picked for Birmingham 2022

The officiating community in Scotland has plenty to celebrate at the moment with news that 18 of our qualified Officials have been selected for Birmingham 2022.

We announced that late last month and the story commanded widespread attention and good wishes.

For a number of that cohort, this will be a return to Commonwealth Games duty as Birmingham 2022 calls on respected knowledge and experience.

Joyce Wighton is one of those and will now be officiate at her third Commonwealths.

The Level 4 Official spoke to UK Athletics a few months ago and was asked to sum up in three words what she takes from her volunteer role:

‘It’s Rewarding, Fun and Challenging,’ said Joyce.

Here’s a couple more of the questions from the UK Athletics interview.

What is your favourite moment as an official?

‘With over 40 years as an Official I have many special moments.

‘I have witnessed many great competitive moments. At the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, I was a Track Judge and witnessed Liz Lynch (McColgan) win her 10,000m gold medal, in the pouring rain.

‘More recently I was Track Umpire when Laura Muir did the double at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019. It is always special to see Scots win on home territory.

Laura Muir in gold-medal winning form at Glasgow 2019 (photo by Bobby Gavin)

‘Another highlight for me as a 400m hurdler was seeing Ed Moses at Crystal Palace – he was the guru of the event at that time – when I was in my early 20s and this was the only time I officiated when he competed. I also got a photo taken of me with him which was special.

‘In the 1990s I was an Official at the Special Olympics in Glasgow. It was an amazing week and at the closing party a group of six young athletes, with Downs Syndrome, danced to Whitney Houston’s ‘One Moment in Time.’

‘They were inspirational and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This is the example I always give when people ask why I do officiating.

‘My officiating highlight is probably being Chief Track Judge at the Commonwealth Games in my home city of Glasgow in 2014.

‘It was really the dream job as I was sitting next to the Track Referee but I felt like he had all the responsibility and I was having a great time, on the radio to all the team leaders and able to soak it all in from the best seat in the house!’

Our current edition of PB magazine includes interviews features with Joyce and with Richard O’Grady

What do you love most about officiating?

‘I have always enjoyed helping others and I think this is why I love officiating so much.

‘My role is to ensure everything is fair and I like to ensure fairness. To be able to provide quality competition and help youngsters understand the need to compete fairly is so important.

‘I enjoy working with the athletes and working with all the other Officials. I have made lots of great friends and we have such a laugh together while doing our work.

‘We are all volunteers but we work hard to do a good job while still having an enjoyable time.

‘I love the big international events but I also love working with the grassroots and helping youngsters who are just starting in the sport, especially those with disabilities who I love to see getting a real kick out of participating.’

UK Athletics interview with Joyce Wighton



Tags: Joyce Wighton, Officials

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