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Jamaican umpire Joseph Clarke to create history at Hong Kong badminton tourney
Jamaican badminton umpire Joseph Clarke, the country’s highest-ranked official, will create history next month by being the first Jamaican to Umpire to officiate at the 2017 Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open Badminton Tournament.
The tournament, which is part of the BWF Super Series, will be staged in Hong Kong from November 21-26, 2017 and offers a cash prize of US$400,000.
Clarke said he is excited at the opportunity as it again allows a Jamaican to officiate at a major international event. He said that being the first Jamaican to officiate at the prestigious tournament, is always added pressure as good performances can open doors for other Jamaicans.
Clarke, who in 1997, created history as Jamaica’s first internationally accredited umpire, believes the future is bright for other Jamaican officials. “A lot of work is being put into training and development so that we have a sufficient number of qualified officials to serve when we host international events and to meet the demand for international assignments,” he said.
Clarke has blazed an impressive trail for other Jamaican badminton officials to follow.
In 1999, became the first Jamaican to achieve the level of Pan Am Certified Umpire. In 2002, he became the first and remains the only Jamaican to become a BWF Umpire. Just one year earlier, in 2001, Clarke was the first Jamaican and Caribbean personality to be elected to the Badminton World Federation Council.
Clarke is also the first Jamaican to become a Pan American Certified Referee and the first and only Jamaican to ever achieve certification as a BWF Certified Lines Judge.
After a long and impressive career as a Badminton court official, Clarke was recognized by Jamaica’s National Association of Badminton Umpires and Court Officials (NABUCO) in September 2017 for being the first Jamaican to officiate at the Olympics; Clarke was selected by the IOC to serve at the 2016 Rio Olympics.