Awards Season: An insight

Last weekend the 9th British Judo Annual Awards Dinner recognised the huge effort of volunteers within our sport. As we move further into Awards Season clubs, teams and individuals in judo from across the country are being nominated for a range of different accolades. 

In Sussex, Westerleigh Judokwai, Holly Tadman, Paul Everest and Sussex U16s are up for Active Sussex’s Club of Year, Disabled Sports Personality of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to Sport and Team of the Year awards respectively. 

In Greater Manchester, Rochdale Judo Club’s Dave Duffy (Coach of the Year) and Maurice Clark (Unsung Hero) are also up for awards with GreaterSport. Whilst at national level rushjudo’s Laurie Rush is a finalist in the sportscoachUK Children’s Coach of the Year category. British Judo Director Colin McIver is also a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award at sportscoachUK’s annual awards ceremony. 

Last year, 52 year old Dave Dunsford from United Judo (Sidcup) won the BBC London’s Sports Unsung Hero award. This year Dave was been invited by BBC London to be one of the judges deciding who should receive this year’s award. We spoke with Dave to get his insight on the process of selecting an award winner and his passion for volunteering. 

“Last year when I won the award, I was surrounded by some incredible people who have been volunteering all their lives and to be there in the same room as them was a real honour and privilege”, said Dave who has been volunteering in judo for 35 years. 

“As part of the winning the award I got to hear some of Britain’s Olympic medallists talk about how their volunteer coaches helped them on their way to success. Hearing them made me even more passionate about volunteering and I’ve pushed on from last year, volunteering at the 2015 London Youth Games and also for Join In

“This year, the amount of background work we did as a panel to choose the winner was incredibly detailed. We had some really influential people on the panel and it took us over 3 hours to look at and discuss each finalist in detail before making a difficult final decision. 

“I met one of the guys from the panel last year who voted for me. He explained that what they (and in most awards panels) are looking for are a range of testimonials from those that are directly effected by the actions of the volunteer and not just character statements from the volunteer’s mum or brother. That was what we were looking for again this year, that one volunteer that really stood out. 

“There are lots of people in mainstream sports who are out there in the rain every night, but we were trying to find something that sets the winner apart from the rest not necessarily an older person as well. 

“Volunteering is a really important part of our sport and we’re got some amazing people volunteering in judo. I’d encourage those amazing people to put themselves forward for local, regional and national awards as they deserve recognition for their efforts. It also helps promote their club and our great sport”, Dave concluded. 

The winners of this year’s BBC regional sports awards will be announced at the end of November/early December with the overall national winner presented at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards on the 20th December in Belfast.