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After months of consideration and spending much thought on the matter, NSA umpire, Marielouw van der Merwe, has decided to retire as an active International and National umpire. Looking back after 30 years of umpiring, it surely has been a wonderful and exciting journey.

“I would like to thank each and every person that has played an instrumental role in me becoming and fulfilling my dream of qualifying as a National and International umpire. I am thankful for the support and multiple opportunities given to me along the way. I will miss the excitement, thrill and adrenaline rush when stepping onto court. It was always a personal challenge to umpire in such a way that players can show off their ability and skills to the benefit of their teams and to enjoyment of the crowd. Through umpiring I have made a lot of dear and special friends from which I had learned and experienced a lot. It was a privilege and honour to represent my country at the highest level” Van Der Merwe said.

International Netball Federation
Since becoming an IUA (International Umpire) in 2013 she has handled the whistle in 50 ranking games and 31 *non-ranking games. Apart from umpiring in two Commonwealth Championships (2014, 2018) and one Netball World cup (2015), Van Der Merwe was involved in several international competitions.
Those include:

  • African Cup (2009, 2013, 2019)
  • Word Youth Games (2009, 2017)
  • World University Tournament (2012, 2018)
  • Diamond Challenge (2012, 2016)
  • Constellation Cup (NZ and Australia 2015)
  • Quad series (2016, 2017)
  • Tri-Nations series (2011)
  • Fast 5 (2013, 2014)
  • England & Malawi test series (2017)
  • Netball World qualifiers in Scotland (2018)
  • England at Trinidad Tobago (2015)

Marielouw received her first National grading in 2000. She obtained her NSA A badge in 2004. She was entrusted with a number of high-profile matches in South Africa; one Merit tournament final (2010), one National League Final (2010), three SA Spar Netball tournament finals (2011, 2012, 2019), three Brutal Fruit Netball finals (2015, 2016, 2017) six SA Universities finals (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), three Varsity Netball Cup Finals (2013, 2016, 2017).

She also had the opportunity to umpire three matches in the England Super league during the 2012 netball season. In 2014 she was given the opportunity to umpire three matches of the SA Proteas Invitational team against a visiting team from the Netball Australia centre of excellence.

“I think it is time to continue on another pathway. I am looking forward to continuing presenting umpires courses. In the beginning of 2020 I have hosted two advance courses in collaboration with a few experts in different fields such as injury prevention, vision, different running techniques, fitness, nutrient, mental toughness etc. I will definitely continue to look at different ways to enhance and help umpires with their umpiring techniques.”

“I have been actively involved with my role as a coach and mentor provincially, nationally and Internationally. I am still representing INF as a ITP (International Testing Panel) cadet and have mentored International umpires at the Diamond Challenge (2018) and the South Africa at England test series (2019). I would like to use the experience that I have gained over the years to help develop and mentor umpires from grass roots to international level. It will be very satisfying to share my expertise and knowledge with others and try to also help them to reach their full potential in umpiring.”

“I would like to share the following with young and upcoming umpires. Everyone has a dream, for some the dream happens quicker than for others. Know your rules and keep up to date with any changes. Continually strive to learn more about the sport and try your utmost to improve your skills, but most of all, make the most of all opportunities coming your way.”

Netball South Africa acknowledged the big role Marielouw van der Merwe has played on and off court and representing South Africa as International umpire overseas, and will definitely use her expertise on umpiring in South Africa, looking forward to work with her in this new chapter in her life.

Upon learning of her retirement, Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane commented “It is with sadness that we receive the news of Marielouw’s retirement. Netball South Africa will always remember her as a very professional and fair umpire. She has been part of us for many years and still have so much to give, therefore we wish to say goodbye but not fare well. She’s a true lady and ambassador for netball umpires not only in South Africa but in all the netball playing countries. May her knowledge be shared with those who wanting to follow in her footsteps. We are going through tough times now with the lockdown, but we are still planning this one big evening where we would like to honor all of those who offered their time to make netball a better place. Take care and God bless.”