Thu, 10 May 2018
GREG Thompson admitted that he was ‘ecstatic’ when he found out that he would be officiating the women’s beach volleyball gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The Hermitage resident was selected to referee at the Games last month and was overwhelmed to be in charge of such an intense fixture.
Thompson, who has been refereeing since 2007, had also taken control of several games during the 2012 Olympics in London and was one of the more experienced officials on the Gold Coast.
Speaking about his experiences in Australia, Thompson said: “Overall it was a hugely positive experience – everything I expected it to be and it will certainly be one to keep lodged in the memory bank.
“The weather over there was amazing and even when it did rain, nobody complained because it was so warm.”
Thompson was supported by his family who had never seen him officiate before and he was delighted that it was made possible.
Beach volleyball was making its first appearance in the Commonwealth Games and Thompson was proud to be a part of the history.
He said: “Everyone involved was making a little bit of history, so there was a huge air of positivity and expectation.”
Thompson, who started officiating volleyball matches at the local club in Newbury, was thrilled to meet a whole host of referees and develop contacts.
He said: “It’s definitely one of the perks of my profession that I can develop a network of friends from places in far-flung locations like Fiji to potentially visit on holiday one day.”
The women’s final between Australia nd eventual winners Canada was the last match of the beach volleyball tournament and
Thompson admitted the atmosphere was electric as the hosts were involved.
He said: “The passionate spectators and the thought of millions more watching around the world thankfully didn’t bother or distract me.
“Gold medal matches at these high-profile events don’t come along very often, so when they do it’s something to savour – a real career highlight.
“I was little nervous, but this gave me the edge I needed to be on top of my game.”
Team England’s men’s and women’s sides finished fourth and fifth respectively and Thompson felt they did as well as they could.
He said: “It was a really good effort – they did themselves and England proud given the fact that the women’s team, in particular, still managed to compete in this Commonwealth Games without any central funding support.
“Both of them should be pleased with their achievements given beach volleyball is not considered a mainstream sport.”
On his performance in the final, he said: “Looking back at my performance, I felt I made the right calls when I needed to and allowed the match to flow naturally.”