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Breakthrough for women officials

The four line judges for the Netherlands v Italy match in Hamamatsu

Hamamatsu, Japan, October 31, 2010- Apart from the exciting action in the Pool B match in the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship between Italy and the Netherlands that went to five sets, a new record was set for FIVB competitions when six women were included in the refereeing team that officiated the match.

There were two women’s scorers, but more significantly there were no fewer than four women line judges for one of the most important matches in the pool. They all did a great job, spotting all the heavy spikes on both sides that hit the line several times.

What is even more exciting is that the four line judges come from four different generations. The oldest, Tomoko Watamase, is 52 and a grandmother six times over. Her day job is working as an office secretary. Watamase had been a line judge in World Championship and World Cup matches three times before but always among a team of men.

She did work with a full team of women in the 2007 World Cup, also in Hamamatsu, but as she pointed out after Saturday’s match: “What is new today is the additional two women scorers. I’m happy to be with that team and to serve my beloved sport of Volleyball.”

The second line judge, 41-year-old mother of three Yukiko Norizuki, is experiencing the World Championship for the second time. Yukari Muramatsu and Tamaki Yagi were the other two line judges, while the two women scorers were Mizue Kasahara and Mikako Masuoka.

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