How World ParaVollyey Level I Course Has Impacted Our Career – Nigerian Referees
BY OLORUNSOLA JOHN OLUDAISI
The ongoing World ParaVollyey Level I Course for African Referees and Coaches has been described as a lifetime opportunity for the participants to expose themselves to the latest trends in the game.
The Level 1 Course, the first development course for Referees and Coaches in Africa, is being held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos and it will end on Sunday.
Some of the participants, especially the referees, who spoke on the inherent gains and the adding value of the Course to their careers, felt excited that the Course has indeed impacted their careers positively.
To Okita Comfort Agbo, who came from Port Harcourt, Rivers State for the training in Lagos, she was happy that she is attending an international course of this nature.
Comfort, who is still playing active volleyball said that she learned new things in officiating the game of volleyball being played by special players.
“Seeing another aspect of volleyball is very intriguing. This is a good opportunity for me, as a player who is also into refereeing in the sport. The course is very educational. Away from the normal volleyball norms, I know, this training exposes me to the rules that accommodate special people. The rules give them the flexibility to play volleyball. There are quite interesting things that I have learnt, and I will still continue to learn as a first-time referee,” said Comfort, who hails from Benue State.
She noted that crossing from being a player to a referee did not pose any challenge for her as her background as a player is helping her to meet up with the rudiments of volleyball refereeing.
“There are a few things that are special to ParaVolley that I didn’t know before, and this course has availed me the opportunity of getting to know those things. The way the abled body players play is quite different from the para players. I think I will be going back home fully loaded with quite a lot of things,” said Comfort, who had played in the Nigerian University Games NUGA for the University of Agriculture, Makurdi in Benue State.
Busari Abdulateef, a national referee, who came to Lagos from faraway Jaji in Kaduna State said the game will be better off after this Level 1 course, even as he vowed that he would try his best to be among the lucky five who will be selected for the Level 02 course by the World ParaVolleyball.
“The only difference between volleyball proper and paravolley is standing and sitting. In volleyball, there is no lifting but in paravolley there is lifting. Every other officiating aspect is almost the same,” he said.
Abdulateef described his experience in the weeklong course as awesome, adding that kudos must be given to the Nigeria Para Sitting Volleyball Federation which facilitated the training for the Nigerian officials.
“This is my first experience to be trained by foreign instructors, and by the grace of God I see myself to be a foreign instructor someday who will be going to other countries to impact people.,” he said.
A board member of the federation who is also the Players’ Representative on the board, Opeoluwa Oduneye said the sport, especially the players, would be better off after the course as both coaches and referees, would have gotten modern know-how to handle the players henceforth.
“We cannot but thank the World ParaVolleyball for bringing this noble course to Nigeria and I want to say that the participants have received good exposure from the foreign instructors,” Oduneye, a Lagos State player.
Participants for this Level 1 course are drawn from different parts of Nigeria and other neighbouring West African nations with facilitators led by Ugandan, Robinson Tumwesigye. The training involves both practical and theoretical aspects of the course.
“This is a unique course and it is the only revolving course we have for para volleyball in Africa. This means that presently all eyes of the world are on Nigeria. The referees and coaches who will graduate in this course will be internationally recognised. This is Level I, while the highest level we have for them is Level 02. Graduates will have the opportunity to work in any part of the world,” said Tumwesigye.
The Level 1 Course was primarily targeted and focused on Nigeria, as the World ParaVolleyball confirmed Nigeria as Africa’s powerhouse for the sport.
The participants will be awarded an internationally recognized certificate after the course.
Apart from encouraging athletes‘ development at the national level through the course, creating educational and training opportunities for the officials will aid the growth of the sport at the international level.