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Fowler achieves International Umpiring Award

New Zealand’s Gareth Fowler is the latest recipient to achieve the highest international qualification for umpiring, the IUA.

Fowler, who has been appointed to umpire at Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017), has been a regular in the National Umpire Squad, and plies his trade on a weekly basis in the ANZ Premiership.

“I’m pretty overwhelmed to be honest. The IUA is one of those things you work towards for a long period of time, and when you actually get there... I’m pretty blown away to be fair,” Fowler said.

“NWYC2017 is going to be a fantastic spectacle of Netball; teams from all over the world who will bring lots of different skills – I can’t wait, I’m extremely excited!”

Fowler points to a strong pre-season as one of the keys to his consistency in 2017, as well as the support from the broader umpiring programme. But he recalls a moment from nine years ago that was perhaps the turning point in his umpiring career.

“I’ve been well-supported throughout my pre-season training. I just became a lot more comfortable in myself on the court, so I came across a lot more confident and definitive in my decision making and techniques,” he said.

“I’ve had a number of people who have pointed me in the right direction over a number of years. There was one particular moment that occurred nine years ago; I’d just got my New Zealand badge and I was umpiring at Men’s Nationals in Queenstown.

“I’d played and umpired at that tournament – was very sore by the end of it and was told, ‘you know you’d be a better umpire than a player.’ That was David Pala’amo, and that kind of put me on the course to where I am today.

“I couldn’t have been more appreciative of the support, not only from David, but everyone around Netball who have put time into me and shown confidence in me.”

With the ANZ Premiership Finals Series and NWYC2017 on the horizon, Fowler says there is always another mountain to climb and a goal to achieve.

“For me it’s about consolidating and then reaching the next; really honing my skills and my game to ensure I’m delivering week-in week-out in the ANZ Premiership. For me I want to deliver on the court and contribute to the game.”