Becoming a


by Tom Beech
Tom Beech is one of the newest referees in British Powerlifting, and came to me to ask for advice on his first competition in the hot seat. Glad to say, it went super well for him! Tom is based in East Mids, along with Erik Mata who also features in this issue!

How long have you been a powerlifter?
3 and a half years ago I broke my leg tearing my ACL at the same time whilst playing rugby. Initially I was told the injury was simply a fracture, so I took a friend's advice to start powerlifting so I gave it a go. Now I'm safely into my 3rd year of membership with British Powerlifting.

What first attracted you to moving into refereeing?
For me refereeing was my way of keeping myself involved in the sport whilst rehabbing from an ACL reconstruction. There aren't many powerlifters to train with in my town so it felt like something I could do to stay around the sport, meet more people and help out the sport.
A friend let me know there was a course coming up so I signed up, took the exam and had my first experience of reffing in early 2022.

What are the best and worst parts of being a ref so far?
So far the best things to me are;
- Being able to still be a part of powerlifting,
- Seeing people's passion and happiness spill out when they get those white lights and officially hit a personal best
- Significantly better knowledge of the rules!

If I had to call out the worst item, it would be the physical exam itself. There were a few issues with the exam paper, and I felt communication could have been better following the exam.


What advice would you give any lifters who want to give back to the sport?
Think about what you are realistically able to do and focus on that. Giving back in terms of platform help or reffing is rewarding but it doesn't always have to be time consuming.

Also, giving back doesn't always have to be directly related to lifting, you could help with websites, sponsor comps, create a spreadsheet for competition entrants, weigh ins, stop your friends training high squats, anything!

Talk to me about what makes you happy, as a lifter or a ref or just an observer in powerlifting?
What makes me happy in this crazy sport is seeing people succeed in terms of getting better, being able to witness and cheer someone as they hit a PB is great and I can't wait to be able to have that feeling again myself.
It can sometimes feel like if you don't train at a certain club or have a known coach that you'll be left behind but once you're in a singlet and getting on that platform you are part of the community, and that is an amazing feeling.


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