"My dream is to umpire at the Olympic Games"
Date: 10/12/2014 1:07 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

We spoke to the German BWF accredited Umpire Cornelia Schröder about her challenges and goals in our 'Women in the Spotlight' interview feature.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Cornelia, what made you want to start umpiring in badminton?

Cornelia Schröder: I was a late starter in badminton, when I began playing at the age of 16. All the clubs in Germany needed umpires (following the German regulations) so I agreed to go for the classical C-licence in umpiring in Lower Saxony in 1990. From the beginning on I had a great support by umpire colleagues, especially from Harald Schallenberg and when I moved to North Rhine-Westphalia from Joachim Mörsch and now from Carsten Koch. Thus I went through to the national accreditation in 1997 and two years later to become international German Umpire.

As a result of my enthusiasm and a big portion of luck I had the chance in 2001 at the Helvetia Cup in Most/Czech Republic to jump on an empty place on short notice for the Badminton Europe Certificate Umpire assessment. Again a supporter, Richard Atwell from England who knew me from 2000 German Open, promoted me. I have been a BWF accredited umpire since 2008 at the World Junior Championships in India.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What do you like most being an umpire?

Schröder: It is such a pleasure to watch badminton when it is at its best, played to perfection. Additionally it is so inspiring to be with many other cultures and nationalities. And with small gestures such as saying hello or thank you in the language of the players you have on court you receive so much sympathy and friendliness.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What was the most challenging match for you over all the years as umpire?

Schröder: It is always a challenge to umpire Asian men. The culture is so different. They always try to daunt or provoke a woman in the umpire chair and simply test your boundaries. It is so important to find your way, how to stay strong and self-confident even though your voice for example is not as strong as a mans. But one of the most interesting and challenging matches for me was a mixed final in Austria when umpiring Simon Archer from England. He was such a clever player who never stopped testing the dominance of the officials. I was really in a cold sweat after that match.

BADMINTON EUROPE: You have your family at home, you are working part-time. How do you manage all this together with your engagement in badminton?

Schröder: I could never have gone as far as I have without the wonderful support of my husband, my 8-year old daughter and my family. Additionally I have a very sport enthusiastic boss at my company. As I am a consultant for the chemical industry I can perhaps arrange my work maybe more flexibly. I am very grateful, that my “infrastructure” is simply perfect for my hobby. And looking at the world of the technical officials – all of them are passionate about badminton and not paid for it like in other sports e.g. football (which I am not sure that the players are aware of).

BADMINTON EUROPE: What are your aims for umpiring in the future?

Schröder: I simply enjoy every event I am umpiring. Whether it is a junior tournament like the German Junior Open, where I have seen so many of the stars of today at kid’s age or the Youth Olympic Games I just had the chance to be a part of. But for me today the greatest player personality is Lee Chong Wei who I hope to umpire again.

My dream is to umpire once at the Olympic Games. But I still have some way to go to achieve my dream as I did not pass my assessment in 2013 in China to become BWF Certificate Umpire. I hope to get a second chance in the near future.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What words of advice do you have for young and engaged umpires, especially to women?

Schröder: Never give up – believe in yourself – make more self-marketing and showing-off! My credo is: hello there, I am maybe 20cm smaller than you and do not have a voluminous voice – but I can do it.

Interview by Christine Skropke. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.

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