Indian summer opens ex-FNC umpire?s eyes
By JIM CHALLENOR
FORMER local and frequent visitor Annette Crandell's international hockey umpiring career continues to blossom.
In her latest foray, Crandell participated in the seventh Indira Gandhi International Gold Cup tournament in New Delhi, the Indian capital in the country's north.
"New Delhi was, to say the least, a cultural shock," she said.
"But apart from the heat, oppressive humidity and social diversity, it was the overall friendliness and support of the people that stood out."
From the beggars in the street, everyone attached to the almost decadent hotels to the sublime 17th Century Taj Mahal, their hosts couldn't do enough for the assembled officials.
Bottled water was a necessity in the conditions, especially umpiring at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in front of the biggest crowds Crandell has seen.
Passionate, boisterous and extremely loud ? as most sub-continent crowds are ? umpiring in the stadium was made that more difficult, but she said it was an amazing experience.
Australia beat host India in the final; Crandell umpired the bronze medal match between New Zealand and Italy.
Crandell has been umpiring hockey since the early 1990s except for the two years she travelled overseas after leaving the Far North Coast in early 2000.
She returned in 2002 and her career has been on the rise ever since.
Crandell is one of only eight Australian umpires listed with an International badge or better.
Awarded her International badge in 2001, she has now umpired seven official international fixtures.
Along with various overseas development tours, she has controlled top-level games in most Australian capital cities, and in Singapore, China, Japan and India.
Crandell began umpiring in New South Wales but now lives in Brisbane, where she umpires the Division 1 women's competition and Queensland State championships.
Also, as an International umpire, she has been an active member of the top Australian Hockey League panel since 2002.
Crandell has been quick to offer her expertise by mentoring developing umpires and juniors.
Asked what advice she could give Far North Coast girls interested in taking up umpiring, Crandell said: "Just give it a go because anything is possible.
"Don't allow anyone to get you down and keep working at it.
"Don't give up!"