Ref faces scorching hot competition at Touch Footy World Cup
TOUCH FOOTBALL: When Kurtis Sankey strapped on his footy boots for the first time at age 11, he never dreamed that at 19 he would be refereeing among some of the world's best at the Touch Football World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
Sankey was one of 72 referees from Australia and 128 referees in the world selected to participate in the prestigious, internationally renowned event, and said he couldn't have been more excited to go.
"It was a really great honour to be named in that side heading over to represent Australia,” he said.
"Australia takes up a fair majority because our referees are highly qualified and they're very capable.”
Sankey was no stranger to some intense competitions, having reffed at the Junior State Cup in Hervey Bay and the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour.
From those competitions, Sankey was identified as a ref with plenty of potential, and was subsequently invited to referee at the World Cup.
Amidst all the excitement of being surrounded by the world's best touch footy players, the six-day tournament was not without its challenges.
The toughest match at the World Cup, Sankey said, was England vs South Africa.
Their intensity was as heated as the weather, with the average daily temperature sitting in the scorching high 40s.
"The only way you could really train for that was by getting in a sauna and running on the spot wearing about six jumpers,” Sankey said.
Next up for the teenager is preparation for his future.
He will be interviewing for the Australian Army, but is confident that touch will always be a part of his life.