THE Olympic Games in Tokyo begin this weekend and a Lochore painter and decorator will be very much involved.
Former Scottish international light heavyweight, Andy Caulfield, is also a boxing referee and after officiating at the London Olympics in 2012 he is back for more bouts in Japan.
He will be a technical official, using his experience to help the referees and judges as male and female fighters battle it out in the ring for gold medals.
“After the London experience I didn’t think I would be back at an Olympics event, but I was delighted to be asked to help the Olympic authorities with their aim to increase refereeing standards for Tokyo,” said Andy, who flew out to Japan on Friday.
“It has seen me build up plenty of air miles but I have been able to work with many talented people who will, I am sure, do well at the Tokyo Games and give the fighters confidence that the refereeing and judging will be of a very high standard.”
The start of the Olympics is the end of a long trail for the man who boxed for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in 1990.
After the problems experienced by the International Olympic Committee with the standard of refereeing and judging at the 2016 Rio Games, a complete revamp was undertaken.
Andy, who refereed at London in 2012 but also at Commonwealth Games in India in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014, was asked to play a part in helping create a higher standard for the Tokyo boxing tournament.
“While Tokyo will be a very different experience from my time at the London Olympics, it will be very special,” he said.
“With Covid having again hit Japan, there will be no crowds at events but the boxers will be doing their utmost to win gold and I expect the boxing competition to be of the utmost high standard.
“Great Britain has 11 gents and lady fighters taking part and every one of them will be setting out to win a medal.
“There had been hopes that the magnificent boxing arena would have seen crowds for the fights but the return of Covid has meant that can’t happen, but I am sure the fighters will produce some great scraps.”
Andy, who now lives in Blairforge, near Kelty, has combined boxing with running his own painter and decorators business for many years.
His job in Japan will involve holding several seminars to help the referees and judges prepare to officiate at their fights, and during the contests he will evaluate the performance of the officials and offer advice to help them improve their decision making.
The preparation for the games has seen him spend a lot of time in different countries, developing the skills of their officials, and now he will be part of the technical team who start work on Saturday.
But the man who moved from being a top amateur champion in Scotland to a world standard referee, was also delighted to meet legends of the sport on his travels.
“In Russia I was fortunate to meet former world lightweight champion, Roberto Duran, and I also had the opportunity to come across former world heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, both really tremendous guys,” Andy smiled.