Portrait of an Umpire: Toh Limin

Name: Toh Limin

Umpiring Grade: FIH Promising List

Social Media:

  • IG: @limintoh
  • Twitter: @limintoh

Toh Limin was instrumental in helping the Singapore Women’s Field Hockey team clinch 3rd placing in the 2017 SEA Games. The 28-year-old has 53 caps and 9 goals to her name in her playing career thus far and it seems that these numbers will be growing for the foreseeable future. As many already know, Limin is an active athlete in the Women’s National Field Hockey Team. However, her umpiring career is equally impressive. Limin, a three-time SEA Games veteran, is also on the FIH Promising List – a list of potential International Grade 1 umpires.

Hockey began as curiousity in primary school but became a lifelong passion. She has completely immersed herself in the sport taking roles as an athlete, a coach and an umpire. “I do coaching at a school level. I coach because I want to give something back to the hockey community. And that is through imparting the skills and values I have learnt as an athlete.” So how did she get involved in umpiring? Like all student-athletes, the reality of having to sustain oneself aside from juggling studies and sport was apparent to Limin very early. Initially, attending the umpiring course was “just for fun” but soon became a great way for her to be independent and earn some extra allowance.

Recalling her umpiring experience thus far, Limin mentioned how difficult it was in the beginning to handle the myriad coaches and athletes on the pitch. Trying to find calm amidst the negativity she faced sometimes, she learnt not to take things to heart and accept the fact that people will react a certain way when a call is not in their favour. “What also helps me is being confident and open minded to accept feedback because the way we portray ourselves plays a part in communicating with players and coaches.” However, Limin openly admitted that to her, the toughest challenge is not when she is umpiring games, but happens off-pitch and off-duty – during the fitness test.

Limin also distinctly remembers her first international appearance as an umpire and the highest level tournament she has ever umpired. “My international umpiring debut was in the 2011 Girl’s U18 Asia cup in Hong Kong. It was exhilarating being out there on my own! But for the same reason, it was also scary! The highest level tournament I umpired was the World League Round 2 in New Delhi, India. I was there as a neutral umpire and handled a game that was supposed to be one sided, but turned out pretty even, quite well.”

Though being an umpire has earned Limin travel opportunities around the world, she believes that the biggest benefit she has gained from being an umpire is the empathy and understanding she has gained. “Umpires are afraid to make mistakes and overthinking causes them to make more mistakes on the pitch. Being an umpire myself, I tend to feel for the umpires when they make the wrong call. As an athlete, I just brush it off rather than going off at them. Because mistakes are unintentional and they very likely just missed the call.”

Currently, Limin is fulfilling her duties as a national athlete in the 9th Women’s Asia Cup happening from 28th October – 5th November 2017 in Kakamigahara, Japan. Continue to follow her journey and the journey of our local umpires and the fraternity right here on singaporehockey.org and our social media channels.