GIVING BACK: Claudia Murray of Flinders View will officiate at the Commonwealth Games next year. Pictured with her son Blake, 12.
GIVING BACK: Claudia Murray of Flinders View will officiate at the Commonwealth Games next year. Pictured with her son Blake, 12. David Nielsen

Claudia's path to the Games

FIVE years ago, Claudia Murray took a taekwondo officiating course so she could help her son Blake improve his routines.

Now she is preparing to take up a position as a scorer and timing official at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

"It's all really daunting to me, it's huge,” Murray said of the opportunity to officiate in front of thousands of people on the international sporting stage.

"I got a call from a lady at the Commonwealth Games asking me to apply, and she asked if I was willing to give up my time to help make the Games successful.

"I went to the Gold Coast for an interview, and just got the word the other day I've been offered the position.

"Next month I go down to get my uniform and meet everyone else, it's all kind of exciting really.”

Although next year marks the first time taekwondo will be eligible for the Commonweath Games, organisers chose not to include the category two sport in the schedule.

Instead, Murray is expected to officiate boxing, table tennis and badminton events at the Oxenford Studios venue.

The call came as a complete shock to Murray, who had never considered the possibility of a Commonwealth Games berth until she picked up the phone.

But it perhaps should not have come as such a shock, considering the reputation she has built within Queensland and Australian taekwondo circles in recent years.

Murray just returned from the Australian Taekwondo Nationals in Bendigo, where she was one of three Queensland judges officiating at the event.

It was the first time anyone other than Murray had represented the sunshine state as an official at a national championships; further proof Murray's influence has helped set the standard in Queensland.

The news of her impending Commonwealth Games debut had Murray recalling the set of circumstances that started her on the path to the Gold Coast in 2018.

"Originally my son was competing and I couldn't understand how the scoring system worked,” Murray said.

"Obviously you want your son to do as best as possible, but without understanding what was happening it was hard for me to give him feedback.

"So I did a course, and the next thing I know Taekwondo QLD thought I was doing a good enough job to (officiate at) competitions and it all snowballed like that.”

Her son Blake and husband Derek are highly-awarded competitors across multiple disciplines.

Blake received a silver medal at the same national championships Murray officiated at in Bendigo.

"I remember my first year judging, I noticed with his hand movement if he didn't bring it back to his belt he was marked down 0.1 (points),” Murray said of her son.

"If he looked down at his feet while travelling in the pattern he'd also lose 0.1.

"I said to Blake if you don't look down 10 times that will save you a whole point - all of a sudden his scores started to go up dramatically.”

But as your typical young teenager, Blake prefers not to have his mum judge every move he makes on the mat.

"He doesn't like me judging him, if we do trials in class before a big comp we'll get the kids out there but he'll always say, "Mum knows my faults, don't let her judge me',” Murray said.

"Of course in actual competition I never judge him, I had to stand up and excuse myself this year when he came onto my mat.”

Murray's motivation to begin as a taekwondo official may have been Blake, but the reason she has stayed in the sport and become arguably the leading official in Queensland is different.

"I just wanted to make sure everyone was getting a fair go at tournaments, be it little kids, big kids or coaches,” Murray said.

"I love the behind-the-scenes of organising competitions.

"When I first took over at the Gold Coast - the second-largest comp in Australia - there were lots of problems.

"But through the years we've gotten to the stage now where we overcome those issues before they happen.

"I can honestly say that, on the day even with almost 250 people, we don't have issues any more.”

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