Athletics NI official Liz Glover has been awarded Sport NI’s Technical Official of the Year award.

The Sport NI SportMaker Technical Official of the Year award recognises the hard work and dedication of referees, umpires and officials and the contribution they make to their sport.

A familiar face to everyone involved in athletics in NI, Liz officiates almost every weekend during the busy summer period of track and field athletics and during the winter season. She assists Athletics NI by setting up officials’ courses and encouraging others to get involved.

Speaking after the SportMaker presentation Liz said: “It is such a surprise and I feel so honoured because officials are such a great team. It’s not a one-person activity; you can’t be an official without being part of a team and we have a great team in Athletics Northern Ireland.

“I enjoy seeing the athletes aiming to get their best performances and I enjoy giving them the opportunity to compete.

“I do my best to keep all the officials up to date with what’s going on and I try to encourage people to come and help officiate.

“When you see all the athletes who want to take part, without officials there wouldn’t be any competition so it’s very important that we do get as many officials as we can.”

Passionate about athletics from a young age, Liz switched from competing to officiating after the birth of her children. She officiates in photo finish at all levels of competition locally and regularly acts as Chief Photo Finish Judge at these competitions, including at the NI and Ulster Championships throughout the year.

Shauna Bratten, Marketing and Communications and Events Manager at Athletics NI nominated Liz for the award: “I nominated Liz for this award as she is at every competition, every meet going. There is so much work going on behind the scenes that people just don’t see in preparation for all of our competitions, and she does a lot of work with our technical officials, encouraging other officials to get on board and upskilling them. Liz does so much for us and is so worthy of the award.

“I officiate at events and many a time I would be up in photo finish with Liz and it is one of the more stressful places to be. When everything goes right it is great, when things go wrong it’s not so great but Liz is always very calm in how she deals with anything that does go wrong and it’s always sorted out before anyone outside the room really realises. She is definitely a stalwart within officiating in Northern Ireland.”

Antoinette McKeown, Sport NI Chief Executive, congratulated Liz on her award win: “Our SportMaker Awards celebrate the unsung sporting heroes who help make sport happen: the coaches, officials and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes.

“Liz goes above and beyond for her sport, giving up her evenings and weekends to ensure athletics competitions run smoothly throughout the year and sharing her knowledge and expertise with other officials.

“Congratulations Liz – you are a SportMaker!”

The Sport NI SportMaker Awards give the sporting community the opportunity to showcase their achievements and give special thanks to coaches, officials and volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to make sport happen. There are 12 award categories recognising achievement at all levels of sports participation, from grassroots through to high performance.