Jane O'Brien

Jane O'Brien

Jane O'Brien has played a huge role in the growth of the Technical Official programme. Since 2016, Jane has represented Ireland at International events as well as represneting our officials on the Technical Committee. This April, Jane was appointed the first female chairperson of the Triathlon Ireland Technical Committee. Please see below details of Jane's journey.

I am the secretary of the Kenmare Triathlon club and have been a technical official  for several years.  Initially, I became a TO as each club who hosted an event had to provide two Technical officials to two events every year.  It has turned out to be a very challenging but rewarding  role travelling to events to make sure that everything is carried out according to ITU rules. I am now on the technical committee of Triathlon Ireland, where we examine the rules and apply any derogations to the rules that we feel are necessary to the Irish situation.

In December 2017, thirteen of us attended a national technical official Level one course which would permit us to work at international events and this led to four of us travelling in June to Nottingham for the World TriathlonMixed Relay Series  and then directly onto  the ITU World Triathlon Standard Championship  in Leeds with 55 male and 48 female elite athletes competing from all over the world.  Both events were qualifying races for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.  In Leeds we also assisted in the age group standard distance British championships which took place on the Sunday morning before the elite race.

In Nottingham, I was part of the Race start team and this involved walking on to the start pontoon  ahead of the athletes and then noting the race number of the athlete and the numbered positions for the six athletes assigned to me.  When all was ready, We raised our red flags and the referee started the race.  Apart from this, I was also involved in the transition team, which involved making sure that the transition area was set up according to the rules, and overseeing the conduct of athletes on their entry and exit.

In Leeds, my job was to assist the swim team in both the age group championships and the elite race.  For the age group race, of which there were 27 waves, we accompanied the athletes onto the pontoon and helped them into the water.  The professionalism of the technical official  team at all times  was outstanding and everything went smoothly.  For the elite race, two officials were assigned per boat of which there were four and our job was to monitor the swimmers at close range for unsportsmanlike behaviour .  One official filmed the race electronically while the other was a physical spotter.  Not an easy task.

It was an amazing experience to work with technical officials at this very high level and I was proud to be part of the four-person Irish delegation of Padraic, Robert, Colm and myself.  They told us that our Irish technical official jerseys and gilets were much nicer than theirs!  Mostly, the four of us had different assignments at each event , and it was great to be able to compare our experiences every evening.  We came back with a wealth of new knowledge and an eagerness to learn more.