A TEENAGE judo ace is celebrating after landing a prestigious national award.

Irvine Judo Club member Abbie McDowell (15) has won Judo Scotland's Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

She was picked ahead of all the young Volunteers in Scotland due to her hard work officiating for Judo Scotland and her work within the club where she is coaching the girls in the Judo Girls rock programme, which will run for 20 weeks on a Saturday, from noon until 2pm for girls aged from five to 20

Known as the Female Participation Judo Programme, Judo Girls Rock is designed to engage with young females – a group under-represented within our programmes of physical activity as well as on a national scale.

Scotland suffers from poor health statistics, around 30% of girls aged from two to 15 years are overweight or obese. Female participation rates are poor and research has highlighted that only 41% of girls aged 13-15 in Scotland meet the target of an hour of physical activity a day.

Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation reported that many young girls feel self-conscious when exercising or unhappy about the activities on offer but do want to be active, take part in physical activity and remain healthy.

The sessions, developed from an award-winning pilot, will focus on physical movement similar to dance, introducing judo gradually to maximize buy in.

They will also incorporate workshops to encourage a healthy lifestyle - from internet safety to healthy cooking.

The aim was to set up an infrastructure whereby the growth of female participation is encouraged and developed within Scotland, through a number of common goal projects.

Delighted Irvine Judo Club head coach Gordon Brawley said: "This is a great wee boost for the club. Abbie is great with the kids and is taking the lead with the Judo girls rock programme."