Rugby World Cup Sevens

Gabriel Lee takes her whistle to a new level

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 August, 2010, 12:00am

Gabriel Lee Wing-yi, Hong Kong's top female referee, is set to take wing againcarrying the colours of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union on the international stage when she appears at the Women's Rugby World Cup in England.

Lee, who left yesterday for the 12-team tournament which begins on Friday, already has had a taste of the big stage, having officiated at the final of Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai last year.

'It has been an amazing 18 months, and to be able to travel to and participate in another Rugby World Cup is just brilliant,' said Lee. 'This is something I have planned for in the past four years.'

Lee will be one of seven female referees from around the world, and the only one from Asia, to officiate in the 15-a-side world showpiece for women.

The three-week tournament will be staged at Guildford, south of London, with the finals being played at Harlequins RFC on September 5.

'I have been working on my game management with my coach, Bernard Fienberg for the past 12 months and my fitness, with the HKRFU's national trainer, Nathan Stewart since December last year,' Lee said.

'Knowledge and fitness are the keys to success at any tournament, so I know that the long hours in the gym and all the hard work on the rugby pitch will pay off in representing Hong Kong at the Women's World Cup.'

Lee's first assignment will be to referee the game between Canada and Sweden in the first round. She is hoping her performance will be more than up to par so, and that she will get more games, especially during the knockout stages of the competition.

The World Cup will not be the end of the journey for the Immigration officer. Lee has also been selected as a referee for the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November, when sevens will feature.