29 May 2024

FISU World University Championships ITO role for England's Thompson

FISU World University Championships ITO role for England's Thompson

English official Greg Thompson has been appointed as the International Technical Official (ITO) for the beach volleyball competition at the FISU World University Championships 2024 (Beach Sports).

The multi-sports event – which will also feature beach tennis, beach soccer, beach wrestling, beach handball and surfing – will be staged on Botafogo Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 3rd and 7th September. 

There, Greg will be reunited with Technical Supervisor Mario Ferro, with whom he worked at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

“I’m very proud to have been appointed to this role,” he said. “I get to travel and represent England and Volleyball England in Brazil (a country I've never been to before) and referee the next generation of beach volleyball players - athletes we might be seeing on our screens in the next one or two Olympic cycles. 
“It's always reassuring to know you're valued as an international referee whenever you receive an assignment whether it's for a prestigious FIVB Pro Tour event or for something like the FISU World University Championships. 
“I'm looking forward to doing this event and, when I look back on it, in common with any event I go to, I want to do so knowing I did the best job I could.” 
Greg, who now lives in Ontario, Canada, has been involved in volleyball for almost 30 years – and a referee for most of it. 
He began playing recreationally in 1995 for his local club in Newbury and his refereeing career started in 1999 when he passed the Volleyball England Grade 4 theory course. 

Greg said: “My volleyball club desperately needed someone to take the Grade 4 referee qualification as a condition to enter teams into the local league. As I was practically the only one willing to do it, I completed the course and ended up doing most of the subsequent matches! 
“After contacting Volleyball England to enquire about next steps I joined the National league refereeing roster, gradually progressing through the grades to reach Grade 1. 
“In 2007, my career took a slightly different turn when I attended the FIVB beach volleyball refereeing course in Vaduz, Liechtenstein to qualify as a International Beach Volleyball referee - as part of preparations for the London 2012 Olympics (where he officiated). 
Greg will be able to call on significant international experience role in Rio, having been an FIVB beach referee since 2009. 
“The role as an ITO (International Technical Official) is a term used in most international multi-sport events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, etc where it aims to differentiate between local national technical officials (e.g. line judges, scorers) and neutral international technical officials (e.g. international referees, technical supervisors and referee coaches),” he said. 

“In Brazil, I'll be one of the international referees and my job will be to train the local NTOs in their role, as well as support the local organisers in whatever way they need me, but, ultimately, I'm there to referee the matches and help make the event run smoothly.” 

Greg hopes that his appointment – and that of other Volleyball England officials into international roles – can help inspire others to start their journey on, or progress along, the refereeing pathway. 
He added: “If only a few people read this article and it inspires them into starting their personal journey to becoming a referee (even an international referee) then it would have been worth it.  
“What I've done is totally achievable again by someone in the future. It will take them to places they never thought possible. They just need to take that first step to kick start it and with a dose of good luck and hard work along the way they will hit their goal.” 

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