Following her refereeing debut on the World stage in 2015, the 2017 Men’s U23 World Championships will be Helen Maree Rosenberg’s second World Championships.

From Sydney, Australia, Helen was first introduced to wheelchair basketball through her father just under 20 years ago in 1998. An active referee for the running game, her dad encouraged her into wheelchair basketball saying, “Helen, come and check out this sport, these players are an inspiration, brave and courageous.”

After watching one game she was hooked. “I thought wow! However, it did worry me how the players threw themselves on the floor, that was a little confronting, but what made me take on the sport was how the players conversed with the officials after the game. This was enough for me to have a go at officiating it. So, in 1999 I did the conversion course and have not looked back ever since.”

In 2011 Helen achieved her international licence in Govang, South Korea, and has officiated at the 2013 and 2015 AOZ Qualifiers, the Asian Para Games 2014 as well as the U23 AOZ Qualifiers this year. She said, “For me, all tournaments have been memorable, and great, however the U25 Women’s World Championship was an experience that allowed me as an official to develop and grow not only as an official but as a person as well.

“The most enjoyable part of being involved in the wheelchair basketball community are the players and the people you meet on your journey. For me I count my blessings, and of course my hard work to be able to be involved in the sport. The people in the chairs are athletes for a reason, as my dad said, “They are inspirational and courageous!” and for me this is so true on many levels. The game is getting faster, quicker and better.”

Helen is looking forward to refereeing an official tournament outside the Asia Oceania Zone for the first time. She said, “The part I am looking forward to most is meeting new people of course, experiencing officiating in another country (especially outside of Asia Oceania Zone) and most importantly learning and developing new skills at this level as this is just the beginning of my international career.”