The Deaf Rugby Union and the Rugby Referees Fraternity in Fiji held its first theory session at John Wesley College in Suva on the 3rd of this month.
The session surrounded how best the laws of rugby could be interpret through non verbal communication to Deaf (Special Needs) players.
The use of red and yellow flags to replace whistles with the inclusion of 5 Referees was a first for the Referees.
The theory session provided an opportunity for Deaf (Special Needs) Rugby players to communicate through their interpreter with the Referees.
Fiji Rugby Union Referees Manager Mr. Johnson Lee said that they’re really encouraged to accord them the same applications they offer to the Hearing (we were told they were known as Deaf Rugby Players and the others were Hearing Rugby Players) players.
“The practical part was one to look forward to. The referees were told not to be in it for the game but for the experience needed to better equip themselves to referee the Deaf players during their tournament.”
“They were discussions after every break to iron out misunderstandings.”
Johnson added that these players will be displaying their talents and skills at the Oceania 7s Tournament this coming November and the Referees are so fortunate to be part of it.
“Days leading up to the tournament, there will be a day arranged for a workshop with the other visiting teams and together we shall work together to ensure they have a memorable tournament.”
Part of the initiative is also to get all the Rugby Referees Association in the country to the same sessions in order to officiate Deaf Rugby Tournaments.
“We thank the members of the Fiji Deaf Rugby Union and Marie Koroi for the initiative to work with the FRU Referees Unit in kick starting our preparations for the Oceania Tournament.”