Referee Kowald Impresses at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Referee Kowald Impresses at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Looking back at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, it wasn’t just our two Aussie teams that proudly represented the green and gold on British sand. If you looked closely at the broadcast, you may have noticed another Aussie on the sidelines, with Tanya Kowald as an event referee.

An experienced Australian referee, Kowald has officiated at a number of international events in the past, but says it’s always an honour to do what she loves at the highest level.

“I was really excited when I received the appointment letter for Birmingham. Although I had been before, it is always an honour to be selected,” she said.

“It was a wonderful event to officiate at. We had an awesome group of people to work with, both referees, referee coaches and local officials.”

Photo:Steve Smith

Kowald said she loved the opportunity to work with and learn from the best volleyball officials in the world, while using the latest technology.

“I was really pleased with my second refereeing, we often don’t get a lot of practice so it’s always good to receive positive feedback,” she said.

“I was appointed as second referee to the Women Bronze medal match, which was a great way to finish my event. 

“We also got to use the Challenge system, which is only employed at the highest level events, so it was great to be able to use the technology again.”

Photo: Steve Smith/

Becoming a Volleyball World international referee also brings with it a great sense of community and opportunity, as Kowald explains.

“As always, a highlight for me is about the crew we work with. Seeing old friends and making new ones is why I keep returning,” she said.

“It was great to finally be able to travel internationally again, which I love to do and catch up with referee friends I hadn’t seen for a few years.” 

Kowald encourages other Australian referees, or those considering taking up the whistle, to challenge themselves and “just get in and have a go.”

“Be available to attend events, seek out and take on feedback,” she recommends.

“If you have a bad game, get up and go again, it’s all a learning experience, and you have to be prepared to work hard.

“Refereeing takes time to develop, but you’ll make lifelong friends along the way and you get to see games from the best view on the court!”

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