Clarke appointed Commonwealth Games badminton umpire
JAMAICA'S first and highest-ranked international umpire Joseph Clarke has once again placed Jamaica in the history books. Clarke became the first Jamaican to be appointed to serve as an umpire for badminton in the Commonwealth Games since it was held in Jamaica in 1966. The games this year will be staged in Scotland during July 3 through to August 3.
Since 1997 Clarke has embarked upon a historic line of achievements for Jamaica. In October 1999 he became Jamaica's first Pan American accredited umpire and was among the first five in the Pan Am region.
In September 1999 he went on to become the first and only Jamaican ever to be a Pan American certified umpire which at the time made him the highest-ranked umpire outside of Canada and the USA in the region.
Since then he has continued to hold the Jamaican flag high on several occasions. In 2001 he became the first Jamaican and Caribbean person to ever be elected to the World Badminton Federation Council and at the time the youngest ever elected to the BWF.
In 2002 he became the first and only Jamaican to become a BWF accredited umpire, the second BWF umpire ever from outside the USA and Canada in the Pan American zone. Other milestone achievements include having served at all four Pan American Games since 1999, being the first Jamaican to officiate at the US Open Badminton Championships, World Junior Championships, World Team Championships, and being an international trainer and an assessor to certify international umpires between 1999 and 2004.
Clarke in 1998 was the founding chairman for the National Association of Badminton Umpire and Court Officials (NABUCO) which develops court officials locally.
In addition to being a BWF umpire, Clarke is also Jamaica's first and only Pan American certified referee. He was the first internationally certified referee for the Caribbean region. Since 1999 he has served as referee at several international events in the Pan American zone with his last assignment being the Caribbean Championships staged in Puerto Rico in October 2013.
Clarke said his recent appointment to officiate at the Commonwealth Games is a great honour.
"One always looks forward to serving at major events like this because of the prestige of the event, but it is a privilege to work with the other professionals selected from across the globe and an honour to be recognised at the same level and show that Jamaica has people qualified who can do the country proud," he said.
"Working at major events like the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games shows that our country is committed towards the development of the sport in all areas. It also means when we are hosting major events such as the Caribbean Championships in August 2014 we have qualified professionals within our country and do not have to rely on outside assistance to ensure their success.
"Having the opportunity to serve at the Commonwealth Games proves that even though we are a small nation with limited resources we do produce athletes, officials and administrators of the highest standards."
Clarke is currently the second vice-president of the Jamaica Badminton Association, and in addition to his other achievements has been a past president of the JBA (2001-2003), past president of Caribbean Badminton Confederation (Carebaco 2001-2004), first VP of CAC Badminton Confederation (CONCECABA 2002-2004), past executive member of Pan Am Badminton Confederation (2001-2003).