Gigimat doing her bit

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday January 28th, 2016


WILMA Gigimat is no ordinary mum. 

The 31-year-old mother of four is a dedicated member of the Port Moresby Netball community and a certified country umpire who is qualified to umpire in national netball championships. 

This remarkable woman is able to juggle motherhood with netball through the support of her family and her dedication and commitment towards doing what she loves and enjoys.

Gigimat, whose mum is from Hula in Central and her dad from New Ireland, is a certified umpire whose job involves officiating netball games from beginning to the end, applying the rules of the game to the players, making judgment calls on the game and handling disciplinary actions.

She grew up playing netball and attributed the love she has for this sport to her mum’s sisters who played netball and umpired.

“My mum’s younger sister Margaret Opina is the assistant coach for the PNG Pepes so netball to me is a family-oriented game. I represented Port Moresby Netball Association in the junior competitions and five years ago I had the privilege to coach the Under-17 team when the championship was held here in Port Moresby.

“I help out in coaching and umpiring but mostly umpiring. I also play with the PNG Olympic Committee in the in the premier division of the Public Servants Netball Competition and the Port Moresby Netball Association (POMNA). 

“The last championship in Alotau, POMNA did not take down a team but they selected three umpires to do umpiring and I was part of that group. This was where I got recognised as a certified umpire. I am now mainly focused on umpiring in national championships and I aim to be a certified zone umpire which is a higher level,” Gigimat said.

The young mum says playing for PNG Olympic Committee in the Public Servants premier division, getting certified as a country umpire and also being recognised as the most improved junior umpire in the Alotau championship have encouraged her to remain in the game.

“When you have kids but still continue to play, you will feel motivated and when people admire your performance and hard work, it motivates you to want to do more for netball and give back to the people who molded you to be where you are today.

“Being a stay-at-home mum comes with challenges but I get a lot of support at home. My dad is a former PNG basketball rep of the   ’70s, mum is a sports administrator and my husband plays basketball so we understand how we are at home. Nothing stops me from coming out on weekends to play and socialise. Being part of this sport has helped me to be a better person; I learnt how to communicate and deal with other people who have different attitudes and personalities.

“This is my fifth year of umpiring and I look up to my aunt Margaret Opina, who coached me to be a better person and a better umpire and that is where I am now – being recognised by the netball federation for my work. 

“I always acknowledge her because she is very spiritual, very disciplined and I would like to be like her one day and hopefully a national coach,” she said.

Gigimat encouraged young netball players to believe in themselves and to try take up umpiring starting in the junior divisions and make their way up to senior and when they start umpiring, they would be coached by a senior umpire, they would get screamed at and corrected but this would make them stronger and umpire better.

“If you are not recognised or getting selected for national championships or a train-on squad for Pepes, do something different. 

“Do not just be a player, if you know the rules then umpiring is good for you,” she said.