She has been a referee for twelve years, that is one more than third of her life. She refereed her first Europeans in Moscow (2010). ()
From this time she has been invited to eight EuroArms and four World Championships. Let us talk with Judyta Wiercinska.
Privately she has a very interesting and serious profession, requiring skills both in hand and in mind. She is a medical physicist at Oncology Center, and working on her PhD in medicine. Admit it - it is impressive. Work, doctoral studies, research and writing a PhD is her everyday reality. That's why she likes trips to competitions, it's always a moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the atmosphere she loves!
Tell me, how was the referee work in Bulgaria?
Judyta Wiercinska: There were some very experienced referees missing from the team, like Monika Duma, Camilla Kattstrom and Ivan Gregoricka. It was not easy to work in a limited team, especially since there were many young, promising referees, but who needed some attention and training from more experienced referees. Unfortunately, we had more protests than usual this year and half of them were considered justified! It's hard to say whether the number of protests was influenced by the greater awareness of the athletes, or too many young referees. For sure, however, athletes could see that the referees knew when to admit their mistakes, and this is a very important issue. Maybe it will affect the prevailing conviction that there is no reason to submit protests, as they will be rejected anyway.
What were the most common mistakes made by athletes, in your opinion?
Judyta Wiercinska: A recurring issue is ignorance of English commands. Not everyone has to know English, but the twenty words spoken by the referees are worth learning so that they do not receive unnecessary warnings. As far as I know, in an increasing number of countries, the Nationals Championships are held in English to help athletes start on the international stage. I definitely support that trend!
Who is harder to referee - women or men?
Judyta Wiercinska: Paradoxically, women's duels are much more difficult to referee than men's. I think we have persistence and bravery carved deep into our DNA. The way the beautiful sex fights for a starting position is unheard of in any male category! Unfortunately, ladies forget that they lose a lot of strength in this way. Such struggles on start very often end with the referee's grip, which you can actually ask the referee for from the very beginning, without losing time and energy. Moreover women's duels have been as interesting as men's for many years now and as much hard to referee. Ladies just argue less with the referees than men do. They are easier to handle in this respect.
In addition to command knowledge, what else should the athletes improve?
Judyta Wiercinska: Athletes coming to the European Championships are very well prepared, both in terms of sport and knowledge of the rules. An issue that I would like to raise and which recurs at each competition are protests. Athletes still do not understand the procedure of submission and, above all, the resolution of protests. I understand that emotions are at play when protesting a referee's verdict, but anger does not help anyone. Let me remind you very briefly that the protesting athlete cannot leave the table and the protest is made by the team captain, upon paying a certain amount. The content of the complaint is submitted by the head referee to the two referees who have refereed a given fight. If the verdict was against the rules, the head referee acknowledges the protest.