BLUMENAU - Without referees, no games and thus no championships and this is why we decided to to have a closer look at the referees of the 21st World University Handball Championship.
For this event, we have no less than two pairs of referees representing 9 countries from 3 continents (America, Asia and Europe.).
Those referees represent well the variety of people in the handball world since they are all aged between 23 and 49 and refereeing in either mixed pair like the Mexican pair composed of Angel Duran and Jessica Parra, in men’s pair like the Koreans Seok Lee and Bonok Koo and even in women’s pair such as our Romanian referees Cristina Nastase and Georgiana Doana. Korean referees Seok Lee & Bonok Koo
With 7 games per day, the referees are very busy and this does involve the need of a very good physical condition, the referees in handball are indeed real athletes. As per FISU regulations all of the referees have an international license may it be continental or IHF, the highest qualification handball referees could have.
We have asked to our Korean pair what is the difference for them between the WUHC and the competition they usually attend and they replied that “it is first very different in terms of format from the competition held in Asia, but most of all, being a certified IHF referee only since February, this is the first time we meet European and American teams which way of playing is very different.” Being one of the youngest pair of the tournament, there is very little doubt they will easily adapt themselves throughout the days.
Managed by Roger Xhonneux (BEL), the International Handball Federation (IHF) delegate, himself former top level referee – he was referee in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics – and by the Brazilian Handball Federation representative Salvio Sedrez (BRA), the referees get a chance to increase their experience by refereeing some of tomorrow’s handball stars. Many of those referees will continue the year by attending several World or Continental IHF events, in Montenegro or Turkey for instance.Romanian referees Cristina Nastase & Georgiana Doana
One of our pairs is composed of two Romanian women and we asked them if they had a preference in judging men’s or women’s matches and this is what they told us: “We do not have a preference, but it is usually a much more exciting challenge to be on the field for a men’s game since the contacts are tougher, and the actions faster, it brings along a bigger challenge for referees. In addition the players do not care if we are men or women, in handball the referee is respected whoever he or she is.” Asking Georgiana and Cristina about the atmosphere in the referees’ team they told us that the conditions are ideal to work together and those new meetings are always interesting.
Mexican referees Angel Duran & Jessica ParraFinally we asked our Mexican mixed pair what were the particularities of such an association and they told us that “the advantage is that we are a mix of power and diplomacy and in the end, the players do not see the woman or the man they simply see a referee.” Regarding the differences with the tournaments they usually participate in, they explained that “it is mainly a difference in the type of play. Here we have to deal with Asian teams which are very fast, European teams which are very disciplined and strong when our American teams play with more passion and envy to sometimes compensate the lack of speed or strength. As a referee it is mainly a matter of adapting yourself to the situation.”
Once again, without referees, no matches and it were thus the organizers, the participants and FISU’s duty to highlight their importance and good work enabling our events to take place.
(Source: Julien Buhajezuk, FISU WUC Dept.)Read more