Monday, July 9, 2012

#2012cymruwales - Sue Maughan, Games Maker

With less than a month to go now until London 2012 bursts into life, we hear from Sport Wales staff who are joining the thousands of volunteers who'll be keeping the Games ticking behind the scenes. Here we hear from Senior Officer, Sue Maughan who has been chosen as a Games Maker official for athletics at both the Olympics and Paralympics. 

Welsh Athletics official, Sue Maughan
From an early age Athletics was in my blood. My mum had competed for Cheshire schools and was a coach but if you’d said to me at the age of eight, when I followed in her footsteps and joined Colwyn Bay Athletics Club, that I’d be going to the 2012 Olympics I wouldn’t  have thought that it would be possible - especially not in the way that it has now worked out. 

I was a pretty good club runner and donned a Welsh vest a few times but in reality was never good enough to make it to the British, never mind the World stage, but my passion for athletics continued. As many people do I got the usual raft of coaching and officiating qualifications when I was at university including for athletics. I’m sure my first officiating duties were at a Midlands athletics fixture at Northwood stadium in Stoke-on-Trent.

My first job took me to Essex where I joined the newly formed Castle Point Athletics Club at the track in Canvey Island. Being a new club, volunteers were few and far between. So rather than resurrecting my athletics career I was soon helping out coaching at the club as well as officiating for the club at league fixtures on weekends. Out of interest, one of the new club members at the time was a certain Dean Macey…didn’t he go on to be quite a good athlete?!

Sue takes officiating in her stride!
A change in jobs took me back to Wales, but this time to the southern end of the country, where I signed up with Welsh Athletics as an athletics official. My mum and dad were also involved in officiating and it became the standing joke: "My parents are down this weekend," I'd say. "Oh, you’re officiating then?" But it was something we could share and continued to share for many years. I got more experience, officiated at different levels, and worked my way onto the UK National list for officials.

So how is it that I’m now off to the Olympics? Well with a once in a lifetime opportunity I signed up in August 2009, via UK Athletics, to be a Games Maker volunteer thinking that it would be great just to be part of this once in a lifetime experience. Then, in April 2011 the email arrived...

“We are delighted to confirm that you have been provisionally selected as a National Technical Official in Athletics for the Olympic Games in 2012.”

Colleagues in the office must have wondered what had happened with the shouts and cheers that came out of my mouth! Those cheers were to be repeated in September when I also received provisional selection for the Paralympic Games.

People often say that time flies. How true. It seemed so far off when I first applied to be a volunteer back in 2009, or even when the email came through in April 2011, but here it is less than a month away. 

I regularly just sit with a smile on my face in the office, or at home because I am going to the Olympics and Paralympics, and that distant dream will now become a reality.  My mum would have been so proud!

Keep track of all our Welsh athletes at London 2012 and follow @sport_wales on Twitter for all the latest news. Remember to use the #2012cymruwales hash tag!