Oxfordshire Referee Selected for the Olympics

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Tristan Hale, who is a Sport Development Officer at Oxfordshire Sports Partnership, has been selected to referee the Modern Pentathlon at the London 2012 Olympics.

Tristan, now 28, started fencing at the age of 8 and qualified as a level 1 referee in 2004. That summer also saw the launch of London’s bid for the Olympics at a garden party at 10 Downing Street celebrating grass roots sport, which Tristan was fortunate to be invited to thanks to his voluntary work at university. “I was surrounded by my sporting heroes such as Seb Coe, Sir Roger Banister and Colin Jackson” said Tristan “and I said to myself that I would be part of the Olympics”.

Fencing has three disciplines, epee, foil and sabre and starting with youth and local competitions, Tristan started to build experience as a referee in epee and foil. After reaching the highest qualifications available nationally, Tristan was put forward to take his international epee refereeing qualification in Budapest in January 2010, where he was successfully became one of Britain’s youngest international referees. “Getting my first international qualification was fantastic and it enabled me to get some really good experience refereeing some of the best in the World all across Europe. Suddenly my Olympic dream looked like it might become a reality”. Tristan went on to pass his international foil exam in January 2011 and looked well placed for an Olympic refereeing place after being selected to referee the European Championships in June 2011.

Fencing is one of only four sports to have been at every modern Olympics since it began in 1896 and epee fencing is one of the five events of the Modern Pentathlon, a sport created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin the founder of the modern Olympics Games. At each Olympics the host nation has to provide eight referees for the fencing and twelve for the Modern Pentathlon.

Tristan is the youngest of the referees to have been selected for the Modern Pentathlon and has also been named as first reserve for Fencing.

“I’m really honoured to have been selected and whilst it’s a scary thought, I’m really looking forward to stepping out in my Olympic National Technical Official Uniform in front of a packed crowd and being up close to the best in the world.”

Even if he didn’t make it as a referee, Tristan was determined to be at the Olympics in some capacity and so applied to be a Games Maker through which, he has also been selected to help out in the field of play with the wheelchair fencing. Along with his colleague Lucy Tappin, who has been selected to be a Games Maker at the Boccia event, Tristan recently attended the Games Makers orientation event at Wembley Arena. “It was incredible to see just how many people are going to be part of the team that will make the Games happen and we really got a sense of the excitement that is building around the Games.”

Applications to become a Games Maker have closed but there is still a chance to be part of the official Olympic Legacy by becoming a Sport Maker. Sport Makers is open to everyone over 16 and is about people doing the simple things that make sport happen. Each person will be invited to attend an informal and interactive event where they’ll gain the skills and opportunities to help themselves and others to get active and enjoy sport whether that’s booking a court, planning the route or encouraging people to take part.

Sport Makers is a national programme backed by Sport England and the British Olympic Association and led in Oxfordshire by Tristan Hale. Up coming events in Oxfordshire will involve Commonwealth Gold Medallist Sue Wright on the 17th March, London Olympic hopeful Tom Davis on 16th April and Olympic Gold Medallist Rower Ben Hunt Davis on the 18th April.

Everyone who becomes a Sport Maker and logs just 10 hours of helping others to get more active and play sport will be entered into a draw for the chance to secure a pair of tickets to the Olympics and Paralympics.