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Judges overseas
By Samantha Schook, FAI judge

Who would have guessed that when the judges committee was formed, the SA judges would make such a big come back in the international arena so quickly.

With our SA nationals successfully in our back pockets, we now tackled the outside world.

Chanel Gibbens-Robinson and I, armed with our knowledge of the FAI rules, set off on the 16th of July to Bad Lippspringe in Germany for the BPA nationals for CP, classic accuracy and style as well as the military’s FS competition.

Our aim: to gain as much experience as possible and show that SA Judges know how to work hard but still know how to have fun.

After a long trip, we were greeted by the familiar faces of Kate Charters (BPA Chief Judge) and Paul Moore (event judge Speed and assistant meet director).  It was something to get use to the early sunrise and late sunset.

The training days started off as most competition days do, bad weather days.  These days were used to get to know the other judges and to share knowledge on judging.  Chanel and I were given training in style due to us not having the opportunity here.  Of course rules were known back to front so practical application of this knowledge was the only thing that needing brushing up on.  I used the opportunity to shadow the Chief judge as well as to sit in on discussions regarding election of teams. All this was to see how we could use the knowledge here.

I had the privilege of being the event judge for CP distance and the honour of having the support of the judges and competitors to run the event.

We were also allocated to judge in the other disciplines, myself FAI in CP and as national judge in FS, Classic Accuracy and trainee in style, Chanel as FAI rated in FS and trainee in CP, Classic Accuracy and style.

On the last practice day, the weather was nice enough to give us gaps to get the competition underway.

By the last day of competition, we managed to complete all rounds of CP, 8 rounds of Classic Accuracy, 6 rounds of FS and 1 round of style (which has been rescheduled).

There was only one major incident in Classic Accuracy with a competitor sustaining an injury to his back but he is doing fine, just out of action for a while. There was also ligament damage to a CP competitor on his last jump but he still managed to party hard that evening.

The scores can be found on the BPA website.  They really did well with Spencer Hogg setting a new BPA record for CP Distance of 149.99m only 19.61m off of the world record.

2 hours after the last load, they held their awards ceremony in the hangar followed, at 8pm that evening, with a fancy dress party including a live band, meal and free beer.  Loads of fun carried on till early hours of the next day.

It was sad to have all come to an end but we are looking forward to the next event.

We arrived safely back in SA on the 30th of July and were greeted by loved ones.

I’m proud to call myself a South African Judge as we have set our standards as per FAI’s, and this could not have been possible without the support of the competitors and international judges.

Next judge to make us proud will be Claire King….. Watch this space!