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Melissa Robertson

European Athletics have recognised a young British official at the prestigious Women’s Leadership Awards held in Tallinn, Estonia.

Melissa Robertson, a level 2b Starters Assistant on the UK Athletics officials pathway and member of Nithsdale Athletics Club, was awarded one of three European Athletics Scholarships for Future Women’s Leadership at the event last month after being identified by British Athletics as a future leader within the sport.

The acknowledgment allows Melissa to join fellow winners Yana Kasova of Bulgaria and Nanna Brandt of Denmark on a training programme to be delivered in 2014 focussed on leadership development.

Melissa said: “I am honoured to have been selected for this opportunity and I believe it will greatly benefit me in my development to potentially be a future leader in the sport. I was selected as a young woman they believe has the potential which is a great honour “.

The scholarship follows Melissa’s attendance at the Women in World Athletics seminar (WIWA) in April 2013, to which she credits her recent accolade. The four-day seminar is in line with European Athletics’ work in the area of Women’s Leadership and aims to prepare females already working within the sport for higher level leadership roles in the lead up to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in 2017.  

Cherry Alexander MBE, British Athletics Major Events Director said: “In the first year of WIWA, it is great to see that it has already created a momentum for women’s leadership roles. WIWA will be held over the next five years and we will work to identify additional volunteers who wish to take the next step along the pathway and UKA will help them all the way”.

It was the UKA 2010 Young Official of the Year’s catalogue of involvement within the sport which was recognised by European Athletics as they focus on celebrating the important contributions made by women throughout Europe to track and field.

Melissa took a leading role during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a Starter’s Assistant; one of 42 athletics officials and volunteers from Scottish Athletics. She added to her knowledge and experience by acting as Assistant Call Room Manager at the European Athletics Team Championships in Gateshead earlier this year. In addition, she sits on the Scottish Athletics Youth Advisory Group which directs its focus on recruiting young athletes, coaches and officials into the sport of athletics.

The night featured a further 24 winners identified by their respective national federations as “significant contributors” to the sport for their work and accomplishments.

European Athletics Council member Dr Sylvia Barlag (NED) who headed the awards process, said: "These awards and the scholarships are the centrepieces of our strategy to promote the women leaders we need in athletics.”