After leading several Pro League matches, she will fly south for South Africa, where she will officiate at the U21 World Cup. A new essential step that could lead her, in 2 years, to the Olympic Games.
With Laurine Delforge who has established herself as one of the best referees in the world for several years (she has thus directed the last 2 Olympic finals), Belgium has a remarkable standard-bearer for our refereeing know-how. But she is no longer the only one to stand out on the international scene. For 3 years, Céline Martin-Schmets (35 years old) has been traveling the 4 corners of the planet and demonstrating that she too has the qualities to impose herself at the highest level. However, everything has not always been easy for the Namuroise. It took him a few years to find his balance and really take off. “My very first international tournament dates back to 2007, in Lithuania. Then I officiated at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. But looking back, I was not prepared enough for these tournaments. I really didn’t know what to expect. Maybe I was a little too young and lacked support. I refereed well but there was a little something missing. At the time, I was very stressed and closed.
And it was in 2018 that things finally unblocked for our international referee, spotted at the age of 16 by her future mentor, Paul Prick. “I had to learn to enjoy the moment. And the trigger came during the Champions Trophy organized in China. I thought it was now or never. And that I had to give myself the means to achieve my goals. I decided to surround myself with a physical trainer and I started training at a very fast pace. Moreover, even today, depending on the period, I restrict myself to 5 or 6 days of work sessions per week with stretching, yoga, running, fitness, cycling, sheathing or strengthening. muscular. For 1 year, I have also regularly benefited from the services of a mental coach. It puts things into perspective with an outside eye. And that allows you not to get too carried away and to remain imperturbable on the ground.
Continue to have fun in the field
And even if Céline Martin-Schmets will not officiate this summer during the World Cup in the Netherlands and Spain, she has decided not to let go. This Tuesday, she will also join South Africa to referee the U21 Women’s World Cup which will be played without the Youth Red Panthers (to favor the good performance of the end of the ladies’ championship). And the Paris Games, in 2024, remains, therefore, always, its main objective. “Even if I haven’t been picked up for the next World Cup, I will continue to work hard. I want to keep going. I’ve refereed quite a few Pro League games over the past few weeks and I want to have a good tournament in South Africa. I haven’t changed my habits for Paris and I want to continue having fun on the pitch. I realize that it will be complicated but I am optimistic by nature. So I’ll do my best because I don’t want to feel any regrets. »
Consultant in IT, the Namuroise, who still plays hockey at the Park, officiates, only, in men’s honor division, for 3 years, after having whistled 8 women’s finals. “I wanted to set myself another challenge. Do players look different because I am a woman? I do not believe. Truly. They see no difference. I also think I’ve earned their respect because they know I’m a hard worker. It’s true that I never thought about quitting playing hockey. It gives me a vision of the field even if I don’t play at a high level. I stay in touch with the game and it’s interesting to assimilate the new rules. »
Perfectionist and passionate, Céline Martin-Schmets will not let go during the next few months in order to try to reach new levels and reach, why not, one day, her Olympic dream. His management of matches, his understanding of the emotions of the players and his placement are essential qualities that could allow him to make a difference and thus join, definitively, the great line of Belgian international referees led by Christiane Asselman, Dominique Aché, Viviane Philippens. or Laurine Delforge.