Referee lands award nomination

Tony Warland (right) with Queensland tennis player Mitchell James. Photo: Supplied 221492_01

By Alesha Capone

Tarneit’s Tony Warland has been named one of two finalists in the Official of the Year category at the annual Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards.

The VDSR awards will be held as a virtual event on December 3.

Mr Warland was also one of three finalists in the VDSR award last year.

Mr Warland has been officiating at tennis matches for 28 years, including the national and state championships for players with an intellectual disability.

“This year’s nomination was based on two events that l was the referee in 2019,” he said.

“The first, same as last year’s nomination, was for the Australian Tennis Championships for players with an intellectual impairment, held during the second week of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.”

He was also selected to serve as a referee for the INAS (International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability) Global Games held in Brisbane.

“Specifically, working with athletes with an intellectual impairment is very rewarding, you see both the joy on their faces as they play and also the fierce determination they have to do their best,” Mr Warland said.

He said the best advice for anyone who would like to become a tennis referee or linesperson is “just to give it a go”.

“You don’t need to know the rules as you will be taught them and you get to work and meet a great bunch of people,” he said.

“Who knows, you might end up on Rod Laver Arena doing a men’s final one day like I did. It’s such a huge buzz.”