Shetland received its prestigious European Community of Sport for 2013 accolade in Brussels today.
Record levels of participation in sport and first-class leisure facilities and enthusiastic and expert staff earned the community the title back in August.
SRT general manager James Johnston attended the presentation at the European Parliament, along with trust chairman Joe Irvine and the council’s political leader Gary Robinson.
Mr Johnston said the award was a great honour for the community: “It is testament both to the vision of the founders of the trust and the hard work put in over the years by everyone involved in sport in the islands.”
Mr Robinson said tribute had to be paid to John Nicolson and the late Rob Anderson, whose vision and hard work “ultimately led us to this accolade”.
He said Shetland had two people at trials for the London Olympics and it would be great to see an isles’ sportsperson competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
ACES vice president John Swanson said the number of people taking part in sport in Shetland was “very high” in European terms.
He said the network of “exemplary” leisure centres in Lerwick, Unst, Yell, Whalsay, Brae, Aith, Scalloway and Sandwick “allows access to everyone without anybody having to make a 10 or 20 mile journey to participate in sport”.
Mr Irvine said the ACES inspectors, who visited Shetland in August, had seen at first hand that the facilities “allow people to get into sport at whatever age and level they are at”. He added: “As we have seen, they also provide a platform for athletes to reach the highest levels.”