Skip to content

Conference summary – back-to-back virtual Officials Conference weekends!

21/03/2024 00:00, In Blog /

Over back to back weekends we hosted virtual officials conferences to cater for all levels of officials across Wales. Saturday 9th March saw the first solo virtual Endurance Officials Conference followed by the first solo virtual Track & Field Officials Conference on Sunday 17th March with over 60 officials registered for both conferences. The conferences provided the opportunity for our Officials to be informed and learn through a series of presentations covering a range of different topics. A key central theme throughout both conferences was inclusion.

In both conferences the morning was opened by James Williams (CEO of Welsh Athletics) giving a number of organisational updates which included the new strategy and new officials pathway moving forward. At the Endurance Conference an concise update from the competitions team was delivered by Euan Coney (WA Competitions Coordinator). This was followed by Libby Steele (WA Inclusion & Engagement Coordinator) who delivered ‘Inclusive Endurance Competition Environments’ this included positive ways to support wheelchair road racing athletes and VI runners.

After lunch, two sessions were hosted by Nigel Jones the first of the afternoon sessions was ‘Who’s Who at an Endurance event?’ this covered the various officiating roles required within an endurance event. Followed by the last session of the day ‘Competition Scenarios’ focusing on nine scenarios across road and cross-country events this was a valuable opportunity for attendees to discuss ways of overcoming competition issues by listening to each other’s officiating experiences.

In the Track & Field Conference the competitions team update was delivered by Alex Donald (Head of Competitions) which included structure of the competition team, analysis of entry numbers at our key events and looking ahead at compeititons for 2024. This was followed by Heather Nelson, delivering an informative presentation on the 2023 World Athletics Rule Amendments.

After the lunch break Libby Steele delivered Creating an Inclusive Competition Environment’ which included an overview of para classifications, an explanation of Raza points system and providing our officials with information on how to support inclusion within the competition environment. The next session was ‘Deaf Athletics Awareness with BSL’ Libby outlined her PhD research within the Deaf Athletics starts system technology. Then Libby demonstrated useful BSL phrases for officials to learn to help support and communicate with deaf athletes in an athletics competition setting. This engaging session was useful for our Welsh officials helping broaden their knowledge and the opportunity to practise BSL with guidance from Libby.  

Sue Maughan delivered two sessions the first was ‘Who’s who at an Athletics Event?’ this outlined the various roles within a T&F competition and how different disciplines work together. Aimed to help our officials widen their understanding of the different management roles involved within competition. The third part of the day featured an insightful presentation from Sue about what is involved for Level 5 and beyond by listening to Sue’s inspiring and dedicated journey of how she has become a World Para ITO and World Athletics Referee.

The final session of the day covered scenarios in different disciplines with Amy Price facilitating discussions for field scenarios. In contrast Rob Hooper & Geoff Wickens covered the track disciplines which included video content of best practise examples. These scenarios brought about lots of discussion about different rules, how they should be actioned and by whom amongst various situations sharing best practice. Amy Edwards (WA North Wales Competition Officer) finished the day with a fun officiating quiz testing general disciplines knowledge and more challenging questions related to world para-athletics.

Our appreciation and thanks go to the above for their support and contributions to making the conferences a great success!  

A thank you to everyone that attended online and engaged. Without our officials community athletics simply would not function and we would not be able to provide the brilliant events across Wales. So, from us at Welsh Athletics thank you for the ongoing and enthusiastic support for Athletics.

If you were unable to join us the following sessions were recorded and will be made available on our YouTube channel to rewatch in the coming weeks:

Inclusive Endurance Competition Environments – Libby Steele (slides available here)

Who’s Who at an Endurance event? - Nigel Jones (slides available here)

Competition Scenarios: Road & Cross-Country focus – Nigel Jones

Rule Amendments including Q&A – Heather Nelson (slides avaliable here)

Deaf Athletics Awareness – Libby Steele (slides now avaliable)

Creating an Inclusive Competition Environment - Libby Steele (slides now avaliable)

Watch below the Raza Calculator step by step video guide (from slide 14)














Who’s who at an Athletics Event? – Sue Maughan (slides available here) or you can rewatch this previously recorded session below. 


4 exams and a trip to Chile - the journey to becoming a World Para ITO / World Athletics Referee – Sue Maughan

Competition Scenarios Track - Geoff Wickens & Rob Hooper

As mentioned in the Deaf Athletics Awareness session with BSL on Sunday. In celebration of Sign Language Week, each day this week, we are posting a video on our social media platforms of Libby Steele (WA Inclusion & Engagement Coordinator) teaching Welsh Para Throws Athlete Harrison Walsh different throwing, jumping, running, and general athletics signs and terminology. Why not give them a go!

Find out more about the project here: