July 28, 2010
Atanu Banerjee - The first Indian referee to officiate the Final of a World Championship
Atanu Banerjee, the experienced referee from West Bengal, made the country proud as he became the first India referee to officiate the final of a World Championship game. Banerjee was one of three referees officiating the final of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women (Toulouse/Rodez, France), which was held on July 15th in Toulouse.
"This was a dream come true for me," Banerjee said, "I had officiated a final in an Asian championship before, but the final of a World tournament is a whole different experience."
Banerjee became a licensed international referee in 2006 – he has taken part in several Asian Championships since, including the final of the 2007 Asian Championship in Bangkok. He was also one of the officials that travelled to Russia for the Women's U-21 World Championship in 2007.
In France, he officiated eight matches in total, including the finals. "This is a great honour for any ref," he said. The Final was held between USA and France, and the eves from USA won the game in a blowout, 92-62.
Banerjee feels that one of the most important lessons he picked up as a referee in the European atmosphere was taking part in post-game referee reviews, with a special ref instructor. "We used to watch the game tape and review the actions or the refs," said Banerjee, "It was good to see how we have performed and thus improve our job. This is normal in Europe and must be introduced to Asia/India as well."