Chow Pak Hoong and Lim Teong Chin were in Beijing, China from 15 to 22 May 2007 for an assignment by the World Taekwondo Federation as international referees for the 2007 Beijing WTF World Taekwondo Championships.
85 international referees from all over the world were selected to officiate in the biennial event which attracted 1,700 players from 124 countries.
The referees underwent three days of intensive training which included hand signals, practical judging and analysis of transgressions adopted by players. They were also taught the new interpretations of some of the rules for prohibited acts.
In order to ensure that they were physically fit to handle the high-pressure environment, the referees were medically tested.
Despite the effort, the competition was not controversial free. After all, referees are humans. As humans, they made mistakes. What’s more, there were 50-50 situations which the referees had to decide in split seconds. Whatever decisions they made, they were damned.
There were quite a number of protests – some quietly through proper channel while others vociferous with a lot of drama. At the end, none of the decisions made by the referees were reversed. If you remember football legend Diego Maradona’s Hand of God, you will understand why decisions wrongly made by the referees cannot be changed.
Said first-time world championship referee Chow: “The referees had a very heavy responsibility to carry. It was certainly not easy as we had to remain alert and focused on the given tasks at all times. The coaches demanded nothing less from us. I was glad that I had given my best and I felt good after the tournament.”
Lim, who wore the number one tag for being the most senior referee, commented that he was there simply to update himself and provide a service. He got what he went there for and would be sharing the latest development with the local referees in the referee refresher course which had been scheduled to be held on 1 July 2007.