The 2016 Sports Star Awards were held on Monday 12 December, where 540 people gathered to recognise those who stand out within the WA sporting industry.
Community TAB was sponsor of the Official of the Year Award after having worked closely with WA Sports Federation and the Department of Sport and Recreation for many years.
Community TAB proudly presented the Award to the very worthy winner, Frank Stapleton.
After serving as the Triathlon Australia Chief Bike Official for Ironman WA last December, Frank Stapleton was the Head Facilitator of the ITU Level 1 Officials Course in January. He was the Chief Swim Official of Elite Professionals at the World Triathlon Series Race in Abu Dhabi in March, following this with appointment to the ITU Race Referee for Elite Professionals at an Olympic Qualifier race. Mr Stapleton’s officiating career reached a high point in September, when he was Australia’s only official selected to the first Para Triathlon event at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
We had a chat with Mr Stapleton about his journey with Triathlon within WA, Australia and internationally.
I have been involved in Triathlon since my first Competitive event in 1983 in Ireland. I raced regularly there and when arrived in Australia I started to get involved as an event volunteer and Committee Member of Triathlon WA, when my son Ross became a junior elite in 1999, I signed up to become an official, in 2006 I became the Chair of the Australian Technical Panel and then progressed to my current International level.
I have competed regularly up to 3 years ago and have raced in 4 world Championships, as I have slowed down I feel that it is better to focus on adding value to the events as an official
As an International level 3 ITU Official we sit exams every 4 years after an intensive 5 day seminar with Oceania and Asian Federation officials. In the months after this we have to submit nine assignments and need to pass at a very high average to retain Certification. I also comply with the requirements to attend and assist at training course to improve the standards of all WA officials.
This is easy, it is about happy, healthy people with satisfied smiles after an event, this is the same reaction from the professional elite at a World Series down to the 7 to 12 year old Tadpoles and Trystars children’s events.
Rio was a unique spiritual experience, the added benefit of staying at the Athletes Village gave an amazing insight into the background of elite sport. The sophisticated high tech precision equipment behind the wealthy nations compared to the basic equipment of the third world teams was a reality check. The excellent standard of the Para triathlon was reflected in the joy shown by the podium athletes. The international team of officials and the athletes who shared this and made it happen will remain friends for life.
Besides Rio I have been very lucky to have travelled to many unique locations as an ITU official. In recent years I have officiated in Cozumel Mexico, Chicago USA, Port Morsby PNG, Jiaguang, and Beijing China Budapest, some amazing places. I have an extensive friend’s network, which is expanded every time I go to an event. In 2012 I was selected by the ITU to become the Technical Director for the ITU World Championship and Grand Final in Auckland NZ. Although very challenging we produced one of the best fairest and safe Grand Finals in weather conditions more suited to Rugby.
Mr Stapleton is one of a large group of dedicated volunteers who give so much to the WA sporting industry.