“Humility is a key factor”
Date: 1/3/2012 2:35 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

The BE and BWF Certificated umpire, Gilles Cavert has been announced as Badminton Europe's Umpire Coordinator a couple of months ago. We spoke to the French about his new role at Badminton Europe and his Umpire work in general.

Gilles, could you explain your role for Badminton Europe as an umpire coordinator?
I do assist Peter Tarcala, the Director for Sport, and the Badminton Europe staff in the daily work with umpire appointments and other important issues concerning the European umpires. 

So we cover different areas are such as: Coordinate umpire selections and nominations for BE Umpire Courses, European Championships, BWF Events and Premier Super Series tournaments, BE and BWF assessments. In addition, I do supervise the BE Umpires' Record of Work, the reports from BE Umpire Courses as well as the bids to organise BE Umpire Courses.

I do like this position. Umpiring must be developed in every single European country. Therefore, Badminton Europe’s umpire’s courses do play a key role. It gives European emerging countries the opportunity to benefit from BE instructors panel experience and know how. But we must also ensure that the level of BE and BWF umpires improves. The exchange programs with Premier Super Series are in that case a remarkable field of play.

What is your badminton background? Have you played yourself?

I start playing badminton quite lately as I was already over 20 years of age. At that time, I was a football player. In the team, some good friends of mine had decided to switch to badminton. As they report to me that the game was really entertaining, I did register in the same badminton club in the city of Toulouse. After a couple of years, I had some coaching education programs and started to train in my club. Then I was asked if I’d like to take part in an umpire’s course. I had no particular interest in umpiring at that time. But that was a time (the eighties) when as volunteer in this new sport in France, everyone was trying to get new things in as many areas as possible.


When did you start umpiring at international tournament?

I had my first international tournament in 1992. That was the French Open in Paris. To me, players did look like UFO’s (laughs). They were so quick on court. I remember that the main objective was not to get lost with the score.


I remember a funny moment in this tournament. Umpiring a mixed doubles between two Asian pairs, I start the toss, asking one player from each side about their choice. And then, I realized, once in the chair, that I had been talking with the players from the same side!


Do you have more funny moment to share with our readers?
More recently, during the Indonesia Super Series, I see the deputy referee coming close to my court with a suspicious face. I say to myself; which bloody mistake did I do. Then the second deputy referee came - and a couple of minutes after the referee himself. All these people look at my court and seem to be upset. I start not to feel well in the chair. Yves Lacroix, the well-known Photographer from Canada waves to me, showing something that I do not get.


I had the answer of all these disturbances after the match. A malicious cat was hiding under the A boards.


You have been umpiring in Beijing 2008. What makes the Olympics so special for badminton?
The Olympic Games
are a very particular moment. The tournament itself is not that difficult to umpire. Premier Super series are a lot tougher. But there is a special atmosphere. And Beijing was a perfect dream venue for badminton. The hall was packed every day and the crowd was a very supporting one. You could feel how important badminton was for the host country. Badminton was everywhere: in the streets on giant screens, in TV shows and in the newspapers…

And then, you have also the opportunity to have a look at other sports. Watching Athletics (110 and 200 m) in the bird nest with fellow umpires Hakan and Niels are moments to remember.


What is the first step to become an international umpire? What the interested person should do?
If you are interested in becoming an International umpire, BE has defined a path with different stages. Once you have some international experience, you will be able to candidate for a BE umpire’s course. And after this first step, you will in the near future be able to ask for BE accreditation and BE certification.


Time is an important factor. It is a mandatory but not sufficient criterion. Experience only comes with more tournaments, so do not try to be too fast.


And what kind of abilities they should bring with?

To me Humility is a key factor. But I can add commitment, willingness to improve, sociability, pressure management, communication, anticipation, quick decision making, fairness….and smile.

If you ever think you are a very good umpire, you better stop. There are always a lot of new things to discover and to acquire match after match.

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