A TULLIBODY man recently won a prestigious award for officiating in athletics.

Richard O'Grady was one of the winners at the Scottish Athletics 4J Annual Awards Dinner in Glasgow on Saturday, October 9.

The qualified Scottish Athletics Official won the Raymond Hutcheson Trophy for services to officiating.

Richard is currently leading the starter's groups and has helped make athletics events happen across Scotland this year post lockdown.

The Wee County man said: "Over the lockdown period I ensured that all the team members were okay, we had regular Zoom catch-up meetings, I did newsletters and just basically made sure everybody was okay.

"It was very important to keep in touch and make sure everyone was okay, if there was anything anyone needed I would try to make it happen."

The RH Trophy for Services to Officiating is one of only two awards available for officials – the other being Technical Official of the Year – and Richard was short-listed in that category too.

He continued: "I'm very proud that other people felt that I warranted being nominated. The first category was Technical Official of the Year and I was up against two other strong contenders, both worthy of the nominations and I was just so pleased to be part of the process."

Having been involved in athletics for almost 50 years, Richard started as an endurance runner and used it to keep fit.

He then transitioned from being an athlete to coaching before becoming an official.

Colin Hutchison, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, said: "Our 4J Annual Awards give us the chance to celebrate the Athlete of the Year – but also to recognise and acknowledge the volunteers who make the sport happen in Scotland on a weekly basis.

"We do that via various accolades for clubs, coaches, volunteers and officials.

"Richard is very much in that category for us and he's a dedicated and committed qualified official as a starter.

"Richard won our Raymond Hutcheson Trophy for Services to Officiating as a recognition of his significant input over the past year.

"With just the two awards for officials, it is a prestigious award and I know Richard was very pleased to receive the award.

"We look forward to working closely with him in 2022 via his regular duties at events but also on our Officials Commission."