Hockey Umpire Realises Olympic Dream

Hockey Umpire Aleisha Neumann. Photo by Andrew Blanchard

After a long wait, hockey umpire Aleisha Neumann has finally made it to her first Olympic Games. 

A member of Northern Suburbs Hockey Club at Ashgrove, Aleisha is umpiring at the women’s hockey tournament at the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

‘It is a little surreal and very exciting for it to be finally happening. After the uncertainty last year there was a little bit of doubt that it would happen,’ Aleisha admitted.

‘Being involved in international hockey again and seeing my friends from all over the world again, some of whom I haven’t seen since the World Cup in 2018, is exciting.’

It wasn’t difficult for the 31-year-old to keep motivated and stay fit after the Olympics were postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19.

Aleisha Neumann playing for Northern Suburbs Hockey Club in Brisbane. Photo by Andrew Blanchard

‘Training is a normal part of my routine and lifestyle so it’s really no different. The harder part has been the patience required to wait for the Olympics to happen,’ she said.

Aleisha started umpiring hockey in Toowoomba when she was 14, but she had aspirations to represent Australia as a player.

‘When I was finishing high school, I thought that I maybe wasn’t going to make it as a player and thought I could make it to the London Olympics as an umpire. Turns out it took a little longer to get there,’ she said.

Aleisha has umpired at the World Cup and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and is the reigning Hockey Queensland Umpire of the Year. She made history in early 2020 as the first woman to umpire an international men’s hockey match.

A talented player, Aleisha has represented Australian Country, played for Brisbane Blaze in the Hockey One national league, and was named in Norths Women’s Hockey Club’s ‘Team of the Half Century’. Aleisha considers her achievements as a hockey player and hockey umpire to be of equal importance.

‘I don’t rank one over the other. I am immensely proud of what I have been able to achieve in both aspects. The Olympics has to be my top achievement as it is the biggest event on the sporting calendar,’ Aleisha said.

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