March 28, 2021
22-year-old Bedisia Naqalu Senikuraciri aims to excel in her sporting career as a referee and has set her sights on officiating in the international arena.
Senikuraciri who hails from Wailevu West coast in Savusavu was one of the youngest referees at the 45th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s in Suva.
She said she took up refereeing to break the barrier that women can’t compete in a man’s game.
“I always heard that man can only be the referee in a sport like rugby but my parents encouraged me to overcome that barrier. They always told me that when women can play rugby then why can't women be a referee.”
“This is my first ever tournament to officiate as a referee and before this I used to officiate as a linesman as that was part of the learning phase. I am really happy to finally officiate at a match and at the same time I have learnt a lot of things. This is the beginning and of course there are some challenges which everyone would face in order to achieve their dreams.”
“My dream is to officiate at one of the international sevens matches and I know there would be a lot to do that to reach that goal. It’s not just a dream but also a goal because none of my family members are part of rugby and my love for the sport is there but as a referee.”
She said a challenge she faces while on the field is the argument that players come up with they make fouls and the negative comments that spectators pass from the sidelines.
“I find it really difficult when there is a foul and both team players start to argue and they think we make the wrong decision on the field. At times, we have to remind them that they are players and we are referees who keep close eye on the match.”
“As a referee we have to stay calm and be fair on the field so that we don’t look biased or favouring any one team. The other major challenge is that the people start throwing their negative comment at us if we make the right decision and they think it is wrong. As a referee, we look at things and when we officiate then we can’t be a fan out there supporting one team.”
She is currently a student at the Fiji National University’s Koronivia campus where she is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Forestry and is also determined to attain an international refereeing certificate.
“I have got the Certificate for officiating at the domestic tournament but I want to further my studies also. I have another year at FNU to attain a Bachelor's degree in Forestry and after that I want to get the international refereeing license. A lot of hardwork and determination will be needed and for that I need to learn time management.”
By Romeka Romena