Sussex Sports Awards: Bexhill pair among finalists

Eric Douglin (left) with a Chicago Legends coach at the World Club Basketball Tournament 2018. Picture courtesy Martin Webb, webphotouk
Eric Douglin (left) with a Chicago Legends coach at the World Club Basketball Tournament 2018. Picture courtesy Martin Webb, webphotouk

Bexhill will be well represented at the 2018 Sussex Sports Awards.

Bexhill Giants Basketball Club founder Eric Douglin is a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category and swimmer Kirsty Stewart is a finalist for the Sports Personality of the Year prize.

Kirsty Stewart with her six medals and the female achievement shield at the Sussex Squids Gala in Bognor earlier this year

Kirsty Stewart with her six medals and the female achievement shield at the Sussex Squids Gala in Bognor earlier this year

The prestigious annual event will be held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton on Friday November 23.

See also: * Hastings’ world tournament attracts global interest
* Talented Bexhill duo scoop seven medals
* Bexhill aces shortlisted for county awards

Douglin started the Giants in 1999 to provide a club for local players, but has changed its direction over the years in order to provide unique experiences for players to compete in international competition.

This led to the club organising and hosting the World Club Basketball Tournament in Hastings on an annual basis since 2015. To date the event has entertained more than 20 teams from 11 countries.

The 2018 version, which included teams from Poland, USA, England and the Wales national squad plus a youth coaching session hosted by the ABA Toronto Knights from Canada, was the most successful to date.

Douglin said: “I was privileged to have been nominated initially, but to be one of the three top finalists across the county for the Volunteer of the Year Award is an absolute privilege, and recognition for the hard work the organisation committee put into the tournament.”

Stewart is absolutely thrilled to be a finalist in the Sports Personality of the Year Award category for the second year in a row.

Three years ago she was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer and it was doubtful Stewart would ever swim again. But through determination, passion and the power of sport, she has proved that it is possible to overcome adversity.

Stewart has battled to continue her passion of swimming, training regularly with Bexhill Swimming Club and Hydroschool to regain her strength and stamina.

Last month she won a bronze medal at the National Swimming Championships for people with learning disabilities at the Wales National Pool in Swansea.

In the last year Stewart has taken part in seven galas, including masters galas, achieving an amazing total of 13 gold, four silver and eight bronze medals.

She has been competing in swimming for 33 years locally, regionally and nationally, and has represented her country at European and world events for Special Olympics four times since 2000, winning three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.