12 Aug 2021

Olympic fever reached new heights at the HKRU over the last few weeks as staff banded together to cheer on Hong Kong events, discuss the Rugby 7s and of course, support our very own Matt Rodden as he officiated at his first Olympic games. On behalf of the entire organisation, we would like to congratulate Matt, the Hong Kong medallists, and the winners of the 7s events, Fiji and New Zealand. We would also like to wish the best of luck to all Paralympians competing over the next few weeks as well!

In the meantime, let’s catch up with Matt as he returns from Tokyo to ask him 5 quick questions about his Olympic experience.

How did it feel running out on to the pitch in Tokyo?

It was really an indescribable moment. I think especially for me, having not refereed for more than a year, there was some nerves as always when you run out on the world’s biggest stage. But mostly it was just an amazing experience to be out there and so special to see the Hong Kong flag next to my name on the big screen. Afterwards was equally as special and being able to call myself an Olympic referee is something you can’t put into words.

What was it like on the ground there?

The officials for rugby 7s actually stayed away from the village in a hotel close by. But one of the best parts of the Olympic experience was being there together with our team-mates who we have spent 5 years working with and pushing each other to be at our best for this tournament. So sharing the week with them was a really special part and it meant it didn’t matter so much that we weren’t staying in the actual village.

Do you have any advice for aspiring referees?

Aim high, remember anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and work hard. There is no secret formula, just waking up every day and asking yourself what you can do to improve is all it takes. If you see a referee course pop up, take a chance and go for it!

Do you see a bright future ahead for the 7s format?

7s is a massive drawcard from a spectator point of view and I think the second Olympic Games inclusion has only added to its appeal globally. Although there were no crowds and first time viewers wouldn’t have got to see one of the fundamental things that makes 7s so exciting, the players and everyone involved contributed to really great tournaments in both the men’s and women’s that I think would have hooked in some new fans around the world. Both new and existing fans will have something special to look forward to when crowds are back in full force!

Is there anyone you would like to thank as part of your referee journey?

A huge thanks to everyone in the rugby community who has supported me, particularly all the referees who have pushed me to referee my best and made me want to perform well for them. It’s great to have the support of the HKRU and having such a good team around me makes it all possible.