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Having reached the pinnacle of her refereeing career at last year’s World Cup, Dr. Janet Edeling decided it would be a great note to call it a day on an illustrious career.

Edeling, who has established herself as one of the top officials in South Africa in the last couple of years, wanted to retire from umpiring at the top of her physical and competency levels, something she promised herself.

“The considerations (for the decision) were varied. My personal life poses new challenges and the specialisation of eye surgery is not one that is forgiving. Life has many seasons, which brings new challenges. “Hopefully I will have more time to spend with loved ones and get opportunities to keep giving back to netball,” she said.

Edeling was one of three South African umpires at last year’s World Cup, along with Anso Kemp and Elizna van den Berg. Her final test was at the Netball Europe Championship in October in Belfast.

Since becoming an IUA (International Umpires’ Award) referee in 2016 she went on to handle the whistle in 26 tests.

Apart from the World Champs, Edeling was involved in several international competitions. Those include the Netball Europe Tournament (2016), Netball Europe Open (2019), Quad series (2017), World Youth Netball World Championships (2017), Fast5 World Series (2018), African Games (2015, 2016 and 2017), African World Cup qualifiers (2018) and the Diamond Challenge (2018).

She was entrusted with a number of high-profile matches in South Africa; two National Netball League finals, two SPAR National Champs finals and two Varsity Netball finals.

The biggest miss after 20 years as an umpire will be the thrill and sheer anticipation of stepping up to the court for a high-level match, she says.

“There is no better therapy than the ‘meditation’ of being so utterly involved in controlling a game, applying the rules fairly and yet working extremely hard (both physically and mentally) to allow the players to display their skill.

“When you umpire, nothing else matters. The satisfaction of walking off the court after such a game cannot be bought!

“I will also miss the wonderful camaraderie of the umpire’s change rooms, the mentors who pushed me to higher levels and the participation in a beautiful competitive sport. Umpiring is and will always be my passion.

“The friends I made are for life and do not end when one packs away one’s whistle,” she said.

Photo: Netball Rules