Isaac on a high after officiating in FIBA World Cup

Norman Isaac officiated in the recently-concluded FIBA Basketball World Cup in the capacity of a 'Technical Delegate'.

FIBA technical delegate Norman Issac.   -  Special Arrangement

For the 57-year-old Norman Issac, it was another feather in his cap when he officiated as a 'Technical Delegate', with more or less the functions of a Game Commissioner, in the recently-concluded FIBA World Cup in Beijing (China) with distinction.

The articulate Isaac, known for his vast technical knowledge on basketball, became the first-ever Indian to officiate in this capacity in any World Cup so far and is quite naturally thrilled at the great experience.

“It is a totally different kind of feeling to be there in a World Cup. And, it was a totally different kind of assignment for 16 days compared to my previous stints as FIBA Commissioner in other major events. It is so advanced and coordinating with each and every member from the referees to the shot-block operator to the visible display scoring officials was a huge task,” says Norman.

“Honestly, there was no pressure at all as I looked up to as a challenge and glad that I pulled off a pretty decent job,” clearly downplaying the compliments he apparently received from the FIBA bosses who were not surprisingly ‘puzzled’ how come an Indian could come up with such mastery on technical front. “The only problem was when conversing with some Chinese table officials when I had to express myself in numbers and colours,” he says with a big smile.

“This World Cup too has Instant Review System but unlike the DRS in cricket, there are no restrictions on the number of times to ensure free and fair play is on,” recalled Norman.

How was the feeling before the World Cup final which Spain won beating Argentina 95-75? “Frankly, there were butterflies in my stomach. But, I told to myself that I got this chance because of the good work done in the previous 16 games. Definitely, I was a bit worried for any slight slip-up could tarnish the impression I gained right through,” he says.

“But, mercifully and thanks to the collective effort of all the officials involved, it was a terrific final for me also,” explains the FIBA official. “For me, the biggest satisfaction was there was not a single issue in the matches I officiated including the final,” he added.

“Surely, it was the ultimate dream to be there in a World Cup and that too get a chance in the World Cup final is something truly memorable. Like in football, World Cup in basketball is much bigger than it is in Olympics,” he says.

“But, having said that, my next big dream is to officiate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and given the track record in the World Cup, I am hopeful, if not over-confident, to get a chance for Olympics has it’s own special place for any athlete and an official too,” Norman concluded.