20 June 2024 | Story Lunga Luthuli | Photo Kaleidoscope Studio
Themba Hlasho
Temba Hlasho, Executive Director of the Division of Student Affairs, pictured in his judo refereeing regalia, brings vast experience to his new role as Referee Director for the Commonwealth Judo Association.

Temba Hlasho, Executive Director of the Division of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been appointed Referee Director for the Commonwealth Judo Association. Hlasho, who has nearly five decades of experience as an International Judo Federation (IJF)-A referee under his belt, is set to bring his wealth of knowledge and strategic insight to this prestigious role.

Reflecting on how this new role aligns with his current position at UFS, Hlasho emphasised the benefits of his appointment. "My strategic involvement in this Commonwealth institution provides a platform to network and influence the trajectory of judo. To this effect, I am to share new experiences with UFS judo coaching staff and athletes," he said.

Having served as an IJF-A referee for 48 years, Hlasho is well-equipped to contribute significantly to the Commonwealth Judo Association. "Every Olympic cycle, referee rules are reviewed to align with new trends and to make judo competitions safe for athletes and media attractive. I provide referee workshops before the competition and debriefing post-competition," he explained.

More recently, his participation in numerous international competitions since 2010 has given Hlasho the opportunity to witness an exciting period of evolution in judo refereeing firsthand. He noted, "The International Judo Federation has increased its cohort of female referees and involves more younger referees within permissible age and qualification. The changes in the technical aspect of refereeing have made judo among the top watched sports during the Olympic Games."

Hlasho's other career highlights include refereeing at the World University Games in South Korea in 2015. "Every athlete or technical official's dream in sport is participating at a high level. In my current position, I am creating opportunities for younger referees and athletes to participate at a global level. This we do through a structured development plan to ensure we clear athletes' pathways," he shared.

This year, Hlasho presided over referees at the Commonwealth Judo Championships in Malta in April. "The first key challenge was to get sufficient representation from all Commonwealth countries," he said. The calibre of referees in attendance proved to be outstanding, with high rankings in their respective countries.

Looking forward, Hlasho aims to enhance the quality and integrity of refereeing within the Commonwealth Judo Association. "The initial idea is to constitute a referee commission with diverse representation. This will be achieved through the co-option of high-ranking referees across Commonwealth countries. The role of the commission is to manage all Commonwealth judo competitions, including the development of referee policies and facilitation of referee seminars," he said.

Hlasho's new role is set to not only benefit the Commonwealth Judo Association, but also to bring valuable experiences back to the UFS community, enhancing the institution's judo programme and its athletes.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.