OFFICIAL’S WHISTLE – Welcome to Michaela

Michaela Bencova is one of the world’s top umpires – she is a BWF certificated Umpire, and she has agreed to join the Badzine team as our specialist for the […]

Michaela Bencova is one of the world’s top umpires – she is a BWF certificated Umpire, and she has agreed to join the Badzine team as our specialist for the new column ‘Official’s Whistle’. Throughout the year, and every month, she will be sharing with you her experience but also interview some of her colleagues, explain rules, etc. You may also ask her questions she’ll be happy to answer. For this first column of the ‘Official’s Whistle’, Michaela introduces herself…

Who am I?

My name is Michaela Bencova and I am from the Czech Republic. I am a new volunteer for Badzine but first of all, I am an umpire – I am a BWF certificated umpire with life time experiences with badminton.

How did I start with badminton?

When I was a child, my parents wanted me to do some sports. When I was 7 years old, I went for skill tests to a tennis club – I was the fastest one but I couldnt catch the ball, so I failed – no tennis career from me! My mum was the hairdresser and one of her clients told her about badminton club near our house. I can tell you, I was 8 years old and I was going home crying that I don’t like this sport and I didn’t want to do that. But my parents were very strict  – I could choose any sport but for sure I had to do some sport. I didn’t have any other idea so I got into badminton and now have been stuck with it for already 28 years.

How did I became umpire?

In teenage times I was the member of the national team – I was no. 1 in junior ranking in Czechoslovakia in that time but unfortunately for me I grew up in communist time and travelling at that time was impossible. In the early 90s when the borders were opened, we started to organize the real Czechoslovak International Championships with players from all over Europe. I offered my services to help with the organization – I was one of the few English speaking badminton people. So it was the moment when I met badminton umpires and I realized that as a player I can’t be already a part of large badminton family but I can try to be as an umpire. So I started to search for information in my own country about what I needed to become an umpire.

Was it difficult?

Oh yes, I was the top player and I thought I knew the rules. Ha ha. Actually till today I can see that a lot of players and coaches have no idea about some rules and regulations. But probably the most difficult part was the behaviour of players – I was a female umpire and I was only 20 years old. Now, the difficult part of an umpire’s life is spending most of the day on court. Just imagine that sometimes for 4 days of a tournament, every umpire is about 15-20 matches on court.

What am I going to do for Badzine?

Regularly I will bring you information about umpire education from different countries all over the world, interview experienced umpires, explain the rules, discuss about situations on court, to answer some of your questions, information from the backstage of the tournaments of different levels.

How can you interact?

Ask the questions, write me the reactions, let me know what you are interested in. And I will do my best to inform you about this different part of the badminton family.

All questions can be sent to:

Michaela Bencova

My next column: An interview with Jane Hancock, International Umpire from England

About Michaela Bencova