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SA hockey official gets prime job at next year’s Rio Olympics

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By Mark Etheridge

Veteran hockey administrator Sheila Brown will bring more sporting honour and prestige to South African sport when she serves as tournament director at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Brown’s latest recognition comes on top of an already impressive list of administrative positions that she’s served with aplomb over the years.
It’s her job to ensure that the hockey event in Rio is the sporting spectacle expected by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the FIH (International Hockey Federation).
Brown, 59, received an email from the FIH last month advising her on her appointment. ‘They requested if I would be available and of course, as this i the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a person, I accepted immediately,’ she told Road to Rio 2016 this week.
‘The FIH have an appointments committee and as far as I’m aware they make recommendations based on each official’s capabilities. These appointments are then ratified by the FIH Executive Committee and the President of the FIH and then the appointment is made.  Once you are an official on the FIH list of qualified officials you can be considered for appointments to various levels of events.’
There are a number of excellent qualified tournament directors from all over the world and, says Brown, ‘for this reason it’s truly a privilege and magnificent honour to be appointed to such an event.’
Brown, who holds the rank of a colonel and is a Section Commander (Crime Intelligence Support) in the Gauteng Province, went on to emphasise just how much it means.
‘To be appointed to the Olympic Games means more than anyone can ever imagine. Just as athletes strive to attend Olympic Games so do officials. This is really the pinnacle of any official’s career. I also do believe my appointment is a tremendous advert for SAHA (SA Hockey Association). As everyone knows hockey is struggling with regards to funding and most people involved make huge sacrifices to be able to participate in their roles.
‘Even with the lack of funding SA hockey has produced, and continues to produce, many word class umpires and officials who are respected throughout the hockey world. This shows the true dedication of the SA hockey family.’
Born in Klerksdorp, but having grown up in the Free State, Brown has lived in Johannesburg since 1974. ‘I started playing hockey while I was in school and after arriving in Johannesburg started playing club hockey in 1975. I soon got involved in hockey umpiring and administration and at a young age got involved on the Executive Committees of the provincial body. For many years I have served on the SA Hockey board in various portfolios and still service on the SA Hockey events subcommittee.’
Her first international break came in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean back in 1996 where she was appointed as a judge. ‘From there on I continued my growth, serving as a judge and TO at many events and then been appointed to my first TD position at the All Africa Games held in Abuja, Nigeria in 2003.
‘Since then I have been appointed TD at two Champions Trophies and Tournament Director at two World Cups and now as Tournament Director to the Rio Olympic Games.’
And the Olympic Games are no stranger to Brown having served as a judge in Athens (2004) and then as an Assistant Tournament Director in Beijing (2008) and London (2012). ‘So I indeed feel privileged to have been afforded all these appointments. As far as I am aware no official from Africa has attended as many Olympic Games.’


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