The 2008 European Championships, the 2010 World Championships and the World Premiere of the Champions Trophy in 2011 all took place in St. Johann, Austria in Tirol. This made the decision to host the 2013 International Judges Meeting at this venue an extremely easy one. In early February the head judges of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series from the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany all met at the foot of the Kitzbühel Horn in preparation for the new season.
First on the agenda was the review of the 2012 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS competition year and the different experiences between the referees from around the globe. Various topics were discussed including safety of the athletes, discipline rules and regulations, and new developments for the competition. From these discussions the Judges began working to revise the international STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® rules for the 2013 season to remain consistent across all countries that participate in the sport world wide.
The main focus of the discussions and rule revisions had to do with "standardizing decisions" by all Judges regardless of event. To accomplish this the Judges broke off into workshops to create unique scenarios that often occur in the sport. They then grouped back together to ensure that each Judge would act in the same fashion when faced with the situation. This allowed them to come up with the correct action to take at the events to create a fair response in international competition.
The goal of Head Judge is always to remain independent and free of emotion in the competition, while making a call that is fair and aligned correctly with the documented rules of the events. This puts the Judge under great pressure to make the right decision in a very short period of time, while also focusing on safety and the integrity of the sport for athletes and fans alike. This applies to Judges and Referees in any sport as they all have one goal: creating a fair competitions.
Andrew Hall from Birmingham, has five years experience as a STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Judge and commented: "The two main goals are fairness and security. Since the sporting level is increasing every year, we must also improve ourselves constantly to keep ahead of the sport. This makes the annual Judges meeting an important contribution. I leave St. Johann with the good feeling that our team ready for the season 2013. "
The 2013 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS season officially begins in mid-March with the Southern Qualifier at Auburn University and wraps up at the end of October with the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.