Long serving South Australian official and photo-finish timing master Ian Boswell has been honoured with Life Governorship by Athletics Australia, while pole vault coach and mentor Mark Stewart and long-time athletics official Richard Lawysz have both been extended life membership at today's Annual General Meeting.
Boswell joins a select group as an Athletics Australia Life Governors as Stewart and Lawysz add their names to a distinguished list of Australian athletics servants who have greatly contributed to the success of the sport as an athlete, coach, official or administrator.
IAN BOSWELL (SA)
Ian Boswell began his involvement in the sport as an athlete initially in 1964 until he retired competitively in 1980. During that time he held the school boys 100m record from 1969 until 2004. Ian also won national medals over 100m and 200m in junior and open championships between 1970 and 1976.
First serving on the Board of Athletics SA from 1983 until 1987, Boswell was a member to the competition committee and development programs through until 1985. From 1981 until 1985, Boswell acted as a state selector and managed several state teams.
As the Technical Manager for Athletics SA, and later as a technical committee member, Boswell was instrumental in designing and manufacturing the solid pole vault cover, remodeled the judges stands to increase seating capacity, organised and assisted sub-contractors with various repair projects and repairs to throwing areas, cages and circles, as well as implementing an intercom phone system.
In 1987, while a Board member of Athletics SA, Ian was delegated to a tour of track surfaces in Germany and England to assess the Regupol track surface. From this, he acted as Athletics SA’s quality officer for the Olympic Sportsfield track upgrade and subsequently performed numerous track surface repairs and extended the long jump run up (base and track surface) at Olympic Sportsfield.
In 1981 Ian had introduced the ‘wet’ film system of photo finish at Olympic Sportsfield, a system which continued until the change in 1992/93 to the current computer based digital system. Ian was responsible for the various photo finish systems for both Athletics SA and Athletics Australia, and recommended to Athletics Australia the various upgrades of their systems, including the introduction of camera viewfinders and dedicated computers.
When Athletics SA moved from Kensington to Santos Stadium at Mile End, Ian became the Facility Manager and as such filled a liaison role to oversee the installation of the communication system and data cabling of the stadium.
In 1985 Ian was appointed the chief photo finish judge at the World Cup in Canberra, managing a team of 17 and developing the ‘electronic timing’ section of the technical manual, which became the basis for a great deal of similar future documentation.
In South Australia, Ian adapted the early computer system of photo finish at Athletics SA to the Hy-Tek Meet Manager program, which enabled the production of results, statistics and rankings. He worked closely with Peter Hamilton, Khan Sharp and Grant McKay to present the US based owners of the program to make many adaptations to suit Australian competition practices.
Ian was involved in the creation and management of the Athletics SA results system, which gives individual access to personal results and rankings and feeds into the AA rankings system. In recognition of his devotion to his home association, he was made a Life Member of Athletics SA.
In 1997, Ian was appointed to the IAAF International Panel of Photo Finish Judges, recognizing his significant skills in this regard. In this regard, he was the International Photofinish Judge at the 1999 World Indoor Championships and the 2000 Olympic Games.
Such is Ian’s reputation he was then engaged by Swiss Timing to join their professional team for Games and major events, leading to key roles at both the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and most recently worked at the Beijing Olympics.
Ian received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000, particularly noting his work as an international photofinish judge, was elected a Life Member of Athletics Australia in 2009 and received its Gold Award for 30 years’ service in 2011.
After each acknowledgement, his dedication and service has continued unabated.
Ian is an authority in the field of photo finish timing. He has selflessly dedicated more than 35 years of his life to ensuring that everyone from local recreational runners to Olympic champions have their times accurately recorded.
Above all he has been, and continues to be, an active and effective mentor to the next generation of photo finish judges both at state and national level, ensuring that Australia continues to deliver in this area of expertise way ahead of most other countries.
His willingness to teach and improve the skills of others has been exemplary. His patience in ensuring newcomers to roles and more experienced personnel confronting new equipment, have adequate time to develop whilst ensuring there is a plan B to guarantee results are still delivered has been of enormous value to the sport.
Ian’s capacity to solve technical issues under the pressure and urgency of competitions, high-level ones in particular, continues to make him a first choice appointment as a lead technical official. His insistence on accuracy of results, even if it means significant re-reads and re-publication is a measure of his personal integrity and value to athletics.
Ian’s enduring and continuing service to his sport at state, national and international level makes him well qualified for Athletics Australia Life Governorship.
MARK STEWART (Vic)
Mark Stewart has led the way in Victoria and Australia with coaching and mentoring in the pole vault, one of the most highly technical events in athletics.
Mark first joined Box Hill Athletic Club as a teenager in the 1970s. He was ranked in Australia’s top-10 vaulters every year from 1982 to 1995, setting his personal best of 4.90 metres in 1995.
As well as competing and coaching Mark would often be seen setting up the pole vault and officiating at interclub.
Academically, Mark completed a Master’s degree in economics and went on to attain a Ph.D.
Mark became a successful coach early on in his career. He has coached all-comers, but is perhaps best known to the wider sporting public through his association with the development and early elite careers of Emma George and Steve Hooker.
He has also coached many athletes to success at club, national and international level including:
- Brodie Cross (Youth Olympics);
Rachael Dacy (World University and Commonwealth Games);
Rosanna Ditton (World University Games);
Bridgid Isworth (World Junior Championships and Commonwealth Games);
Blake Lucas (World University Games);
Jacinta Lynn (World University Games):
Joel Pocklington (Commonwealth Games);
Phillipa Hajdasz (World U18 championships).
Mark has always been generous in sharing his vast knowledge with all athletes and their coaches around Australia. In addition to his voluntary coaching, officiating and mentoring work, Mark has acted as Athletics Australia’s national pole vault co-ordinator (1999 to 2002) and as the national youth/junior event co-ordinator (since 2006).
In fulfilling these roles Mark has always worked above and beyond expectations, encouraging coaches from all states and territories. He has shared his deep knowledge and supported some smaller associations to develop junior squad athletes and World U18 and U20 team members.
Notably, Mark has worked with Kym Simons in South Australia – coach of Kurtis Marschall (world U20 championships silver medallist and Rio Olympic representative in 2016) and four other of his athletes who have been in national squads in the past three years.
Mark has supported Zsuzsanna Olgyay-Szabó who came from Hungary with little English and who coaches Australian U20 representatives Jack Hicking (2014) and Angus Armstrong (2016).
Tasmania and the ACT both have healthy and developing pole vault programs with Mark’s help over the past three years.
Mark’s skills have seen appointed as coach to a range of major Australian teams including to two World University Games, the Pune Commonwealth Youth Games, two World Under 18 and two World Under 20 Championships.
Mark worked with Emma George from the time she took up the event until she reached world record status and likewise Australia’s greatest pole vaulter Steve Hooker from his starting out until he became Commonwealth champion in Melbourne in 2006. Characteristically, he then supported both in moving to Perth where they would work with Alex Parnov.
Emma joined Mark in 1994 in response to a message he had posted on the Box Hill club’s notice board calling for athletes to come and try the vault. By the end of 1997, when she relocated to Perth, she had set 10 world records, including an indoor mark using a pit set up in the gymnasium at Melbourne’s Camberwell Grammar School.
Together, Mark Stewart and Emma George, took the fledgling women’s event to new heights.
Steve Hooker also started out with Mark, going from beginner in 1997 to representing Australia at the World U20 championships in Chile in 2000 (finishing fourth) and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games before becoming a Commonwealth hometown champion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2006.
Building on Mark’s strong foundations, Steve was well equipped to transfer to Perth before enjoying his greatest period from 2008 to 2010 when he successively won every major honor available to him – the 2008 Olympic gold medal, the 2009 world championships, the 2010 world indoor championships and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Mark is all things pole vault - active in sourcing equipment, buying it in bulk and making it available to all coaches and athletes no matter what club or in which state they belong.
As well as years of setting up, coaching and officiating at interclub, Mark has been responsible for organising various indoor and “town square” pole vault events including promotional competitions at shopping centres and at “pro” athletics carnivals. He is the mastermind and key organiser of the Rare Air Club Series and the instigator of the Wally Chisholm Classic in honour of his own late mentor.
A respected published author, Mark has featured several times in publications such as Modern Athlete and Coach, Australasian Science, and Quantum.
Pole vault is in a very healthy state in our country - and much of this due to Mark’s tireless work and boundless passion.
RICHARD LAWYSZ (Vic)
Richard Lawysz first registered as an athlete with St Josephs, Geelong in 1965 but has more emphatically made his mark since 1980 as a technical official.
In the more than 35 years of service since he has delivered at all levels - internationally and nationally in addition to his weekly commitment to Athletics Victoria, and to the Geelong Athletics Centre, both to the seniors and little athletics clubs).
As an administrator, he has held the position of president of the Centre.
As a local high jump coach, his junior and little athletics successes include guiding 2016 Olympian Joel Baden through his early involvement in the sport. Richard has worked tirelessly as coach, administrator, educator, mentor and official at all levels of athletics.
Richard has been a leader and innovator in officials’ education, serving on both the AV and AA officials’ committees, including as chair, and on other subcommittees. He has a passion for sharing his deep knowledge and broad skills with others, particularly new recruits to the officiating ranks.
He has been an AA Officials Education Liaison Officer for Victoria since 2004 and has been instrumental in establishing syllabus content and examinations for officials’ courses at all levels, conducting the courses and marking the tests, as well as ongoing mentoring and development of officials across the country.
Richard played a significant role in developing the new Australian Athletics Officials’ Education Scheme (AAOES) a joint initiative between AA and ALA to ensure an effective and efficient education framework. He regularly identifies the need for clearer interpretations of IAAF and AA Rules and is a keen proponent of new and improved wordings – many of which have been adopted, including within the IAAF Rulebook.
Richard is an outstanding judge and referee in his own right. His qualifications include:
- IAAF TOECS II Officiating Diploma 2002
- IAAF ITO (Area): 2002-2010
- IAAF TOECS III Officiating Diploma 2010
- IAAF ITO 2010-2013
- IAAF TOECS III Officiating Diploma 2013
- IAAF ITO (Area) 2014-2017
Richard is a first choice appointment for all major competitions in Australia such is reputation as a manager of difficult and unexpected situations and his ability to deal with athletes and stakeholders alike when things don’t go quite to plan. He is a master of delivering a plan B as and when required.
His high level competition appointments have included:
- 1996 World Junior Championships (throws judge)
- 2000 Olympic Games (chief judge – jumps)
- 2000 Paralympic Games (chief judge – jumps)
- 2001 Goodwill Games (chief judge – jumps)
- 2001 IAAF Grand Prix Final (chief judge – high jump)
- 2006 Commonwealth Games (jumps referee)
- South Pacific Games Samoa 2007 (jumps judge)
- 2009 World Masters Games (LOC athletics chair)
- 2010 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi
- 2001 World Youth Championships, Lille (ITO)
- 2012 World Indoors, Istanbul (ITO)
- 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (ITO)
- 2015 Oceania Championships Samoa
Richard has been acknowledged for his officiating skills and achievements both within his own sport and beyond. His major recognitions to date include:
- AV Merit Award 1999
- Julius L Patching Sports Official of the Year (all sports) 2007
- AV Life Membership 2008
- Vic Sport Official of the Year (all sports) 2011
- twice AA Official of the Year including in 2016
Richard has been a constant on the technical officials’ appointments list at local, state and national competitions and championship. He has served our sport without a break throughout his 35 plus years and continues to do so.