Michelle Joubert celebrated her golden whistle (100th senior international game) in Rosario during the women's Argentina Hockey World League Final. She then took control of the final of that event between the host nation and New Zealand.
The South African umpire is known throughout the game for her fairness, great knowledge of the sport and her support for her colleagues, so this was a popular winner of the award – the first time such recognition has been given.
“I am extremely thankful for this award, especially because it is the first time that this category has been introduced as part of the FIH Hockey Stars Awards,” said Joubert. “I do feel that this award could have gone to either Sole or Irene who were the other nominees. They are both great umpires whom I respect and have learnt so much from.”
“Over the past week it has been amazing to see how much support we, as umpires, have and I think that as umpires we feel ‘included’ in the current developments associated with the Hockey Revolution and it makes us feel like we are part of the bigger picture. I hope that the publicity around this specific award has, and will continue to inspire and motivate other umpires, not only at an international level, but also at grassroots level.”
Joubert is one of the team of top umpires who will be travelling to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games. She spoke of the pressure that umpires feel at events in which the eyes of the world are upon them.
“The pressure to perform and to constantly make 100 per cent correct decisions at all times is definitely felt. Just like in any sport, teams and spectators only really remember the ‘wrong’ decisions, and it is these decisions which we as umpires and officials learn from and try to build on for our next game or tournament.
“It is more important for me to focus now on my preparations for on Rio. I hope to build on my successes from 2015 and to be part of an umpiring team that will share in the success of a great spectacle that hockey will provide in Rio.”
For more information about the Hockey Stars 2015, click here.