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Richie Jenkins

“My career in athletics started in 1973 when my children joined Newport Harriers, and I got involved with coaching rather than standing around watching, I qualified as a club coach and after 2 years I realised that without officials it was pointless in coaching athletes, as the lack of officials meant no meetings for the athletes and I wanted to help athletes to achieve their goal.

Therefore I became a AAA official in 1975, in both track and field, the grade system was different in those days as you started as a level 5 and progress up to Level 1, and the minimum time between levels was 3 years, and to upgraded you also required 3 positive reports of which one was out of area, it took me 15 years to gain level 1. My progress was 5 to 4 in 1975, then to level 3 in 1978, I then had to decide which path to follow, track or field as you could not hold both at level 2 and above, I choose track, in 1982 I went to level 2 at that stage with the minimum time you would be invited to take the advanced written exam which you must have to go further, I gained my Level 1 in 1990, at that point I was invite by my peers to Referee grade which is now ITO. I was on the National list for 21 years before deciding to stand down in 2011.

During this period I have meet many people, parents, fellow officials and coaches all over the country and made many lifetime friends, it also led me into other areas of the sport, one of those was the AAA 5 Star Award which I become National chairman and it was during that period that at a 5 Star committee meeting at AAA’s HQ in London in 1983 I was asked by David Littlewood and Mike Farrell (AAA Secretary) if I could go to the Helsinki World Championships as an independent observer on behalf of the IAAF, as a result of my report ITO.s were created appointed to major meetings.

I was still coaching at this time so was heavily involved with the sport. In 2015 I was award for 40 years’ service to the sport by UKA, how time has flown, I have been very fortunate to have attend many major championships in that 40 years, the main highlights being:

  • Commonwealth Games Edinburgh 1986 and Kuala Lumpar 1998
  • World Championships Seville 1999
  • Olympics Barcelona 1992
  • European Youth Olympics Bath 1995
  • European Championships Budapest 1998 ITO
  • World Youth Olympics Singapore 2010

In the 45 years I have been in the sport, the governing body has changed from AAA, BAAF, BAF to the now UKA, and technology has been the big factor in the sport, no longer wet Photo Finish (Phil James will know all about that, how we got away with somethings H&S would be going bonkers) to the current computer systems, recording systems, but for me it is the close friendships you have with other officials and the banter between us, there are many hard working people in the sport who do it as a volunteer just for the love of see athletes reach their goal in the sport, I have had a wonderful time in the sport and would encourage people to get into officiating as you do not know where it will take you”.