Wendy’s off to Commonwealth Games

A happy Wendy Suttie is heading to Birmingham as a bowls official at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Wendy Suttie is beaming from ear to ear after receiving the news that she has been chosen as a bowls umpire at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The games will be held in England’s second biggest city of Birmingham and run from July 28 until August 8.

Wendy, who lives in Ashburton, is one of 36 umpires chosen to ensure the bowls competitions run smoothly.

Another female umpire from Wellington will join her at the games, as well as officials from countries where lawn bowls is popular, including Australia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and South Africa. The host country will provide 60 per cent of the umpires.

Wendy said she was both surprised and excited to receive the news.

but was beginning to come around to the fact that the officials chosen were more likely to come from countries nearer England because of practical considerations and the covid situation.

“I was just so happy to get the news and I’m really honoured to be chosen.”

Wendy was 52 when she was introduced to the game of bowls by her mother in 2007. She became involved in umpiring three years later.

She is now a Level 4 umpire, which means she can officiate at the highest level.

“I like playing bowls and I’m very competitive. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve made many friends.

“Umpiring is a way for me to give back to the sport I love.”

Bowls officials are tested on theory, practical knowledge and oral skills.

inside out, but the key thing is we are not policemen on the greens.

“The players decide things between themselves and it’s only when they can’t agree on something that the umpire is called.”

Wendy said an umpire could be out on the greens all day and do absolutely nothing.

“It’s not a bad life walking around and watching some great bowls and enjoying the outdoors.”

Wendy is a dual member at the Ashburton and Hampstead bowling clubs and rates both highly.

Her last big umpiring role was as the head technical official at the NZ nationals held last month in Christchurch.

She was one of four officials from New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Games on the Gold Coast in 2019 and has officiated at a number of other world bowls events, most in Christchurch.

“I’ve got a decent collection of umpire shirts that I’ve accumulated over the years and there will be another coming shortly when I head to Birmingham.”

Wendy’s travel arrangements are being co-ordinated through Bowls New Zealand and the costs involved will be picked up by Commonwealth Games organisers.

-By Mick Jensen