Sheffield referee thrilled by call-up to Olympics

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A WATER polo referee from Sheffield is heading to London as the sport’s only British referee at the Olympics.

City of Sheffield Water Polo Club member Brian Littlejohn was chosen ahead of other registered UK referees by the World Water Polo Committee to officiate at London 2012.

Brian, a secretary at Sheffield Hallam University, will be the country’s sole representative for the second Olympic Games in a row, having officiated at three matches in Beijing, China, in 2008.

Brian, who is originally from Dundee, has worked for the university for 10 years, spending the last five based in Sheffield Business School.

During his water polo career he played for Dunfermline and the City of Sheffield water polo clubs and was capped by the GB team on more than 50 occasions.

He began learning to referee while a player. He has been one of the UK’s top water polo referees for 15 years.

Speaking ahead of London 2012, Brian said: “I’m excited about being selected to referee at an Olympics again and this time it’s even more special as it’s on home turf.

“The university has been great in letting me take time off to take this opportunity.

“I never got the chance to compete in an Olympics, so I’m quite envious of the competitors.”

Brian was due to head to London this week, before the water polo matches begin in the Water Polo Arena in the Olympic Park on Sunday.

Team GB get their campaign up and running against Romania, but Brian thinks the gold medal will not be staying in Britain for long.

He said: ”I’m not a betting man, but the form book suggests Hungary and the USA could well be fighting it out for a place at the top of the podium.”