International beach volleyball umpire Kenneth Waugh says he is very surprised to be chosen to officiate at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
The vastly experienced Waugh, who will be officiating in his second Commonwealth Games, told The Gleaner that because of the lack of volleyball activities in Jamaica and in the region, he did not think that he was going to be selected for the Games.
“I was massively surprised when I received the email that I was selected to officiate at the Commonwealth Games because of the fact that COVID-19 is still on the high worldwide,” said Waugh.
“I never thought that they would have actually picked anyone from within the Caribbean. I was thinking that they would be picking people from within the host country. So, when I got the email that I was selected, I was really excited,” he said. Waugh officiated in his first Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018.
The 46-year-old Waugh, who has been officiating in the sport for more than 15 years, also officiated at the Junior Commonwealth Games which was held in The Bahamas in 2017
He underscored that, having been out of the sport for two years because of the COVID-19, pandemic, he has now been working assiduously to get himself up to speed with the new rules of the game in time for the Commonwealth Games.
“It is a great feeling to be going to the Commonwealth Games because of the fact that I will be representing my country, and so this is a honour for me,” Waugh said.
“Now, I am just trying to prepare myself for the event by getting familiar with new rules and trying to stay COVID-19 free,” he said.
“It is a lot of work (officiating in volleyball) because it is just like when you have a football match and you have a referee and you have to come out with your A game to ensure that everything flows as it should,” Waugh said. Waugh qualified as an international referee in 2016 in Liechtenstein and has since officiated at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and the World Beach Volleyball Tour in Chetumal, Mexico in 2018 and 2019. The 2022 Commonwealth Games will start on July 28 and end on August 8.