Bexhill Giants Basketball Club founder Eric Douglin had his efforts and hard work recognised at the 2018 Sussex Sports Awards.
Douglin, who founded the Giants in 1999, won the Sussex County FA Volunteer of the Year award for the successful delivery of the fourth World Club Basketball Tournament at Summerfields Leisure Centre in Hastings during September.
He received the award during a prestigious black-tie gala event, organised by Active Sussex and with special guest host Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, at The Grand Hotel in Brighton last Friday.
See also: * Sussex Sports Awards: Rob Cross, Sarah Graham and Teresa Bennett among winners
* Sussex Sports Awards: Bexhill pair among finalists
* Hastings’ world tournament attracts global interest
The World Club Basketball Tournament is now recognised as one of the biggest international events in the UK for professional and amateur players, and teams are already lined up to compete in the 2019 tournament.
This year’s event saw eight teams from countries including Germany, Canada, USA, England and Poland competing in the UK’s number one international basketball tournament.
The tournament weekend also included free youth coaching sessions, hosted by ABA Toronto Knights of Canada, and raised funds and awareness for its designated charity Kidney Research UK.
Douglin, who is also chairman of the Giants team which competed in the Sussex League up to 2015, decided to take a different approach to raising the profile of the sport in the UK after receiving a kidney from his wife in 2010.
His approach was to organise and host international tournaments and youth coaching sessions, run by overseas coaches, to provide unique experiences for players and spectators across the county.
Douglin said: “It was such a privilege to share the evening with fantastic sporting ambassadors and listen to the inspiring stories of their achievements.
“There were so many heroes and inspirational stories shared, which highlighted the importance sport plays in people’s lives.
“Being selected as a top three finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category from hundreds of entries and attending the finals for the third time in four years was a very humbling experience, but to win it is the icing on the cake for all the hard work everyone puts in.”
The planning for the World Club Basketball Tournament 2019 is already underway and due to the success of the event, Douglin has been asked to support the development of a tournament in the USA.
Kirsty Stewart, from Bexhill Swimming Club, was a finalist in the Freedom Leisure Sports Personality of the Year category, which was won by St Leonards-based world darts champion Rob Cross.