Umpire Evans revels in journey to new officiating heights

17 May, 2024

Travelling the world and seeing the sport’s best and brightest is a key part of David Evans’ work as an umpire for the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The 29-year-old ranks as one of the top badminton referees across the globe with 13 years of officiating experience under his belt and was recently selected to umpire at the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments in China last month.

To travel to Chengdu as part of the refereeing team was a privilege for Evans on a journey that began for him as a teenager.

He said: ”It’s been a long journey because I’ve been umpiring for 13 years and that’s how long it takes to get to that level where you get selected for events like the Thomas and Uber Cup.

”Last year I became a BWF-graded umpire, which is the highest grade in the world and that allowed me to be selected for events by the BWF.

”It was a bit of luck because I was initially selected as a reserve for the tournament but then unfortunately somebody had to withdraw which meant I was then selected.

”It was a great honour to be there and experience the best badminton in the world in such a fantastic place.

”It was a great experience for me to see a different culture with it being in Chengdu, it’s completely different to anywhere else.

“The culture, the food and the hospitality were amazing.”

While Evans enjoyed his time away from the court, he stressed the importance of keeping focused on the game.

And with more than a decade’s experience of overseeing on-court proceedings, the trusted umpire was able to maintain his high standards on the biggest of stages.

He said: ”When you go into a tournament, it’s not a holiday.

”You’re there to enjoy yourself and the tournament but you have to remember that, at the end of the day, you’re there for the players and you need to be the best umpire you can be for every match.

”Every match is different but you’ve got to prepare for every match the same way.

”You have to treat it, and all of the players, with as much respect as you can and do your best on the court.”

IMG 20240517 WA0001 (1) (1)

For Evans, tournament highlights included officiating some of the sport’s finest players, including Kento Momota, Anthony Ginting and Shi Yuqi.

He said: ”One match that stood out for me was service judging one of Kento Momota’s matches because he was retiring from international tournaments after the Thomas Cup.

”It was a pleasure to see the end of an icon and he was enjoying every moment on court like a swansong.

”Another match was the men’s doubles in the semi-final between Indonesia and Chinese Taipei, that was a fantastic match.

”I also had the honour of being selected to be part of one of the finals of the Thomas Cup.

”I was service judge for the first men’s singles between Anthony Ginting and Shi Yuqi which was great to be part of the finals for my first BWF selection.

”It was fantastic and showed that I had a good tournament and that I performed well.”

Citing his experience in China, Evans is encouraging others to get involved with umpiring following an unforgettable Thomas and Uber Cup.

He said: ”If you’re passionate about the sport and love to watch the best players in the world, that’s what I would draw to.

”You’re on their level, shaking hands with the players and they respect you and that’s also a thing that encourages you.

“But you also get to meet so many different people.

”We always talk about it like a sort of badminton family, like a congregation of umpires around the world who all know each other, and we meet at these events in different countries so it’s always like a reunion.

”It’s a great family.”

Optimized by Optimole