25th November 2022
Eric Douglin (centre) won the Volunteer of the Year award. Picture by snapitnow.co.uk
"Doing the tournament was my therapy," reveals award winner Eric Douglin
The founder of the World Club Basketball Tournament held in Hastings has been named as Volunteer of the Year at the Sussex Sports Awards.
Eric Douglin, 59, started the UK’s only international basketball event for senior male players in 2015 and since then has seen hundreds of players from all around the world come to Hastings to play.
Incredibly, Eric managed to organise this year’s event despite being rushed to hospital at the start of the year with a ruptured bowel which led to immediate lifesaving surgery and a stoma bag being fitted.
“It is fantastic to win the award. I am quite overwhelmed that I got to the finals let alone win it.
“It has been a bit of a tough year, what with going through an emergency lifesaving operation so to come back to do the tournament this year and to win this award is fantastic.”
“Doing the tournament was my therapy. We hadn’t done it for two years because of covid and I wasn’t planning on doing it again, but it gave me a bit of light to come back.”
And he confirmed that plans are underway to run the basketball tournament in 2023.
This year, the self-funded tournament took place on September 3 and 4 and saw teams from the UK, joined by teams from the USA, Lithuania, Italy, and Canada.
The event was featured on BBC TV and overseas media, raising the profile of Sussex basketball, the community and coping with invisible illness.
It also included a free youth coaching session hosted by one of the competing teams, New York Court Kings, which was attended by more than 40 young Sussex players.
This was a unique opportunity for players to receive coaching by overseas professional players, and then be able to watch two days of international competition in their county.
“The main thing was the coach clinic for kids. To see the kids’ faces being coached by national superstars was absolutely amazing.”