A CLYDEBANK swimming judge has been recognised as the Official of the Year at a major Scottish sports awards ceremony.

Linda Atkinson took home the accolade at the recent sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering (COV) Awards for her exceptional contribution and commitment to the sport of artistic swimming.

The Bankie is already the highest qualified artistic swimming judge in Scotland and a G-Level Judge for World Aquatics meaning she actively maintains and is assessed at the highest levels of the sport.

And, after celebrating her win at Glasgow’s City Chambers, the grateful official explained it is wonderful to win whilst doing something she loves.

Linda said: “What I love about this officiating, is the opportunity to give back to the sport and see the athletes perform.

“I think our sport is so special in that way, that it is not just an athletic sport, but it’s also a really creative one and to see those two parts come together and seeing what coaches can choreograph and create and to athletes, I really get a lot from that.”

The sportscotland COV Awards celebrate all those who break down barriers, inspire and enhance the lives of others through sport, and recognise the commitment of those who apply their own time and effort to make sport accessible to all.

This year the sport of Artistic swimming has gone through fundamental changes to make it more accessible and exciting for both those participating in the sport and those spectating.

To remain in her role, Linda had to revalidate her qualification based on the new rules adopted for the sport and attend Judge School in Porto with other delegates and officials from all over the world.

Over the past year Linda has officiated at events such as the World Aquatics World Cup in Montpellier, the World Youth Championships in Charlotte in North Carolina, and the Primojie Youth Cup in Croatia.

As well as International appointments Linda also supports where possible all Scottish National and Domestic events.

She added: “I have been lucky enough to attend competitions across the world, and seeing some of the best athletes and best artistic swimmers in the world and getting to judge them is an absolute honour.”

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said: “Every year the Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate people across the country who have given so much of their time and dedication to Scottish sport and are making such an impact on their sport and community.

“Over the course of the last year, we have seen thousands of sporting enthusiasts who give up hours and hours of their own daily lives, to make a difference in sport and physical activity and who have an understanding of what an impact that can have on people’s lives.

“The people we are celebrating have taken that recognition and turned it into life-changing ambition and force for good.”