World stage is her goal
OFFICIATING THE WORLD’S BEST was just the first accolade.
Becoming one of the best in the world is the real end game.
Gillian Martindale has taken her talents to South America, and Barbados’ top basketball official is currently participating in the first ever FIBA Americas Camp For Referees With Potential in Medellin, Colombia.
It’s just the latest step in the meteoric rise for the 36-year-old ref, who was only officially accredited three years ago.
But Martindale is already being identified as one of the region’s elite, as the inaugural course is intended to develop the referees of the Americas to the next level.
“This programme will help to strengthen the ideas and open new horizons for referees of small federations,” noted FIBA Americas technical director Anibal Garcia.
“In past years they didn’t have the opportunity to go beyond their zone and work at the level of European events or World Championships, [but] little by little we have been able to carry out.”
Returned last month
And one such example has been the same Martindale, who only recently returned from officiating at last month’s FIBA Women’s World Championships in the Czech Republic.
“It was like a dream come true and the fact that it happened so quick it was beyond my wildest expectations,” Martindale said of the chance to referee at the World Championships.
“I always wanted to go to a World Championships because they’re a lot of officials who have been refereeing for a long time and never made it to that level.
“It was such a privilege to actually be selected from Barbados because I don’t think we ever had a referee make it so far,” she added.
This opportunity came after the local referee had already carried games at the European Under-16 Championships in Italy a year ago.
And she wasn’t limited to mere group games at the just concluded World Championships either, having officiated three second-round games before taking the floor for the Russia-Belarus quarter-final.
So good were Martindale’s efforts that she was even put on standby for one of the two semi-final contests.
“It’s all about professionalism,” reasoned Martindale of her rise through the ranks.
“When you get to that level it’s not a hobby anymore, it becomes a job so you have to be aware of everything you do.”
It’s the basis of an attitude she hopes will carry her all the way to the elite status of basketball officiating, which could one day culminate with the Olympic Games and the professional leagues.
“For me there are no limitations, I plan to take it all the way,” Martindale professed.
“I always wanted to get to the Olympics and I hope one day to become a referee’s instructor, but I just plan to take it as it comes.”