Eaton umpire prepares to officiate at Games

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
Elaine McDonald will umpire the bowls at the Commonwealth Games.
Camera IconElaine McDonald will umpire the bowls at the Commonwealth Games. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

Bowls umpire Elaine McDonald will get the chance of a lifetime this week when she heads to the Gold Coast to be an official at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

McDonald, 71, has been umpiring since 1975 and has taught other umpires for 24 years.

“I teach all the umpires in the South West,” she said.

The passionate bowls umpire has been working with others in her profession for the past 17 years, while also managing to play in Eaton multiple times during the week.

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McDonald umpires at State and country championships yearly as well as helping out in all the big events in the South West.

But the opportunity to be an umpire at the Commonwealth Games will be her biggest accomplishment yet.

She got the invitation from Bowls Australia back in March to be nominated to the World Bowls committee and she was chosen as one of 20 from Australia to be an umpire.

The official title is International Technical Official, but McDonald often calls it umpiring to keep it simple.

She said it was exciting to be called up to be part of the Games.

“It is something I never thought I would be doing being a woman from the bush,” she said.

“I am not nervous. I went to a training camp back in February.

“They flew us to a South Australia. I handled that all fine. When you have been teaching umpiring for 24 years you know the job.

“It is going to be strenuous, because when you umpire at an elite level you have to be standing all day.

“You have to be alert and ready to move.”

McDonald said she got involved in umpiring when her club back in Darkan needed some help.

“About three years later I took in the league umpiring representative job,” she said.

“That is when I started to also teach umpiring.”

McDonald lives at Bethanie Espirit in Eaton and often helps out with the other residents who play bowls.

She has plenty of experience playing, having represented WA on multiple occasions.

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