In an attempt to professionalise the refereeing system in the country, a four-day track and field referee course concluded on Wednesday in Thimphu.

The Technical Officials Education Certification System (TOECS) Level-I training helped equip 22 School Sports Instructors (SSIs) with the technical know-how on conducting track and field events and competitions.

This is the second time the Bhutan Amateur Athletic Federation (BAAF) is conducting the TOECS to update and build the capacity of SSIs. The first Level-I TOECS was conducted in 2009 where 24 participants mostly school teachers were imparted with the know-how.

BAAF general secretary, Dorji Tenzin, said that since most of the teachers with Level-I experience have now moved to different places, the need to groom young aspiring SSIs is necessary. “This training will help the federation get better and qualified referees to conduct competitions and events in the country.”

Dorji Tenzin said that with the growing sporting culture in the country, the need for qualified referees has become crucial in order to conduct competitions professionally. “For potential athletes we require qualified coaches. But if there are no qualified referees to coordinate competitions, the risk of compromising the quality of any sport is very high.”

One of the participants, Tshetrim Yoezer, said with growing interest from students in game and sports, SSIs need to keep up with changing rules and regulations in various disciplines and also build their technical knowhow.

“In sports the rules are never constant. International bodies keep changing the regulations to keep up with the changing circumstances. It is very important for an SSI like us to be updated with the latest regulations so that our students are taught the right thing,” said Tshetrim Yoezer.

Tshetrim Yoezer is an SSI at the Tencholing Primary School in Wangdue and is an ardent sportsman. He said that the training was an enriching experience and that he will take it back to his school and use it for the development of his students. “This was my first time receiving such training. I learned so many things but I still have a lot to learn,” he said.

Of the 22 participants, Tshetrim Yoezer stood second scoring 79 percent during an examination that was conducted to measure the competency of the participants. He now has an opportunity to take part in the TOECS Level-II training.

The SSIs will now go back to their respective dzongkhags and conduct a dzongkhag-level track and field referee course and share the knowledge with their colleagues and other sports instructors.

Dorji Tenzin said that since almost 98 percent of Bhutanese athletes are currently in schools, it is important to build the capacities of the SSIs so that the students get the right foundation.

BAAF has also started the Coaches Education Certification System Level-I training at the synthetic track in Thimphu from today.

Younten Tshedup