Family ties were firmly to the fore among our Officials at World Indoors . . .

Monday 8th April 2024

Two Scottish mother-and-daughter duos were on duty at the World Indoors – Lorna and Lelsey Rogers and Carol and Rebekah Rose (photo by Jeff Holmes)

By Katy Barden

‘In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous,’ wrote American historian Daniel J. Boorstin.

Athletics creates memorable moments, spectators create atmosphere, but without Officials – the unsung heroes of track and field – competition simply couldn’t take place.

 ‘We’re there to do our best for the athletes,’ says Lorna Rogers, one of 25 Scottish officials selected as part of a 95-strong team for the World Athletics Indoor Championships.

Lorna, a Level Four track Official and dentist in her ‘day’ job, was joined at the Emirates Arena by her daughter Lesley, a Level Two track Official. It was be the biggest event to date they’ve been part of together.

‘I just followed on from her (into officiating)!’ laughs 19-year-old admin and IT student Lesley, pointing at her mum.

Lorna, who worked as a video room judge in Glasgow, has been a qualified Official since 2015 but has been involved in athletics for 42 years.

At the peak of her competitive career, she made British age group teams and represented Scotland in the sprint hurdles and 400m hurdles. She is also a qualified coach.

‘I was ‘helping out’ at league matches but it was in 2015, when my younger daughter was five, I just thought, ‘This is silly, I really should bite the bullet and get my qualifications”, she says.

‘That’s how I got started.’

Lesley has been officiating for around three years but her relationship with track and field is as old as she is.

‘You were actually at the athletics track when you were two days old,’ her mum (who had been coaching athletes to the English Schools Championships at the time) tells her mid-interview.

The pair, both competitive members of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, have a shared love for the sport and are inspired to continue to learn and develop as Officials.

‘The camaraderie of the track team is just brilliant and I learn loads from them,’ says Lesley, who was selected for the Emirates as a call room judge.

Scottish Officials at the World Indoors (photo by Bobby Gavin)

The World Athletics Indoor Championships was the perfect platform to progress.

‘We’re there to be official, but we’re not there to make life harder for athletes,’ says Lorna.

‘At the end of the day, we want to do our best for the athletes, we want to see events go smoothly,  we want it to be good for the sport, and we want it to be good value for the spectators.’

One mother-daughter pairing at a major athletics championship is fairly unusual, but to have two, as is the case in Glasgow, must be quite unique.

Lorna and Lesley Rogers were joined by Carol and Rebekah Rose (also Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) who were with the technical team and operated as a call room judge, respectively.

Adding to the family theme, Carol’s husband/Rebekah’s dad and Carol’s son/Rebekah’s brother will also be involved, on this occasion as volunteers.

Katy Barden’s feature in the new edition of PB magazine

‘I think that’s one of the things we all like about officiating and athletics in Scotland because the four of us can all be involved,’ says Carol who is a Level Four field Official, a Level One track Official and an endurance Official for cross country as well as a coach.

‘We can be at the same venue, doing the same event, but we can all be doing different things.’

Carol, who works as a book-keeper and does accounts, has been an Official since 2017.

‘It was a case of starting off when Rebekah first started to compete,’ she explains. ‘It basically started out with raking sandpits, retrieving javelins and just generally helping out.’

Rebekah, 21, is a pharmacy student at university in Aberdeen and still competes. A Level Three field Official, she has been helping out at events since she was a child and was selected as a young Official to do the 2019 European Indoor Championships in Glasgow when she was 16.

‘When mum and dad started to get into officiating my brother and I ended up getting dragged along,’ she says.

‘I remember helping out at the U12s SUPERteams and we absolutely loved it. We then went down to the national champs a few weekends later and I got asked if I wanted to help out in the call room. From there I really got into it and I did my Assistant Official award as early as I could.’

Photo by Bobby Gavin

Both Carol and Rebekah take pleasure in watching athletes progress from their front row seat as Officials

‘I see people I’ve competed with from a younger age and now I’m officiating and competing and I’m seeing them come through . . . seeing their growth is so rewarding,’ says Rebekah.

‘That’s a bonus of the age and stage I’m at certainly, but I just enjoy seeing people come through and winning national titles.’

Like their clubmates, Carol and Rebekah were thrilled to work together at a major championship and enjoyed such a fantastic learning opportunity.

‘You can learn from other people who are more experienced than I am and you see how the technical side of things plays out on a higher level stage,’ says Carol.

‘The World Athletics Indoor Championships represented a fantastic opportunity for the Scottish Officials selected.

For those who might be interested in being selected for a future championships, it’s never too late to get started.

‘Age is no barrier to officiating or volunteering,’ says Lorna Rogers in conclusion.

‘I would encourage anyone to get involved in officiating and volunteering because it’s so rewarding in many different ways.’

Getting started

 The recruitment of new officials is vital for the future success of UK Athletics’ competition programme and the staging of championships.

Whether you’d like to help rake a sandpit during a local club competition or develop to become an official at a future world championships, officiating is open to people of all backgrounds and skill levels from across the country.

If you are new to athletics and interested in taking the first step on your volunteering journey, the Assistant Officials course is a good starting point.

If you already volunteer for your local club or if you have an understanding of the athletics competition environment, you can sign up for the Level 1 course in your preferred officiating discipline.

For more information about getting started on your own officiating journey, contact:

Shona Malcolm-Martin


Tags: Emirates Arena, Officials, World Indoors

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