Saturday, April 13, 2024

From player to umpire


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Former goal shooter Laurel Browne is making strides towards becoming an international umpire, but she is still keen on donning the blue and gold to represent her country as a player once again.

The six feet, two inches Browne, who made her international debut as an umpire at the recently concluded Jean Pierre Under-16 Tournament in St Lucia had retired as a Barbados player after competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and then AFNA Qualifiers in Canada.

Since then, the former Pine Hill St Barnabas player had turned out for Structural Systems Silver Raiders. However, in the past three seasons, Browne has totally diverted her interest towards umpiring.

“When I stopped playing for the national team, I still had the passion for netball. I was always interested in umpiring and I saw that as a way of giving back to the sport.

“I am one first division game away from qualifying as an international umpire and then it would be up to the local cadets to recommend me for international duties to pursue my career as an international umpire,” Browne said.

Browne, 41, who represented Barbados at four Commonwealth Games and was the country’s flag bearer in 2010 in India, is an intermediate umpire who has completed her advanced practical and fitness test. She is waiting to complete her full practical in a Division One game.

However, Browne indicated there was no conflict between playing and umpiring internationally as they would occur at different period in different competitions. Without going into details, she mentioned that she left the national team because of certain factors surrounding the national programme.

“I still have that passion and drive for playing netball and representing my country. A change or elimination of those issues which caused me to leave would see me returning to the national programme the next day,” emphasised Browne.

With 106 appearances for Barbados, she added that her daughter Lanell, who has her height and skills for the game did not share her passion for club and national duties.

“Lanell has the height and skills yes, but her focus is on her academics. She has already acquired her associate degree in culinary arts at the Barbados Community College and she is pursuing studies in business management.

“She loves netball, but not to the extent to which I love it,” said Browne, who had formed a lethal shooting partnership with Lydia Bishop for most of her career. (KB)


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