When ‘unstoppable’ Christabelle Lim Mee, whistle at hand, stepped out onto the rugby pitch in Tunis yesterday, Sunday 14th October 2022, and took charge of a Tunisia vs. Senegal match, deftly enabling free-flowing play while firmly establishing no-nonsense match official’s writ, she became only the second Asian, male or female, to referee at the Africa Women’s Cup.
“I’m really humbled and glad to be selected, and for the faith that Asia Rugby has in me”, Christabelle told Asia Rugby before departing for Tunisia.
Elated at both, visiting Africa for the first time, and what she dubbed a “fantastic opportunity” rugby-wise. “Just looking at their videos… to see what the teams are like and, you know, they’re really, really good. Some good gameplay and some good personal play…can’t wait!”
Christabelle, a long-standing member of the Singapore Women’s team before she “decided to pick up the whistle” and hailed as one of Asia Rugby’s Unstoppable Ambassadors this year, added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Asia Rugby for nominating me, and thank Rugby Africa for this excellent opportunity, and for hosting me in Africa.”
Earlier this year, Asia Rugby and Rugby Africa Presidents Qais Al Dhalai and Khalid Babbou, with World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont present, inked a historic Memorandum of Understanding in Cape Town, on 9th September 2022, to pave the way for expanded cooperation between two of the world’s largest regional governing bodies in the world of rugby.
Subsequently, on 23rd June, in the first ever Asia Rugby-Rugby Africa exchange, Japan’s Eri Kamimura became the first Asian referee, man or woman, to officiate an international XVs test match at the Africa Women’s Cup – between South Africa and Namibia – also delivering a stellar refereeing performance.