I could not let go the passing of twenty five years of the British Sambo Federation (BSF) go without writing to you. It is a great shame that there was no celebration of this achievement. I know you tried your very best to have a twenty five year celebration competition but due of a lack of entries it had to be cancelled. I also tried to organise a celebration dinner but it was impossible to make it financially viable.
As you know I was one of the first to join the newly formed BSF in 1986 and my Bedford Club has produced many National Champions over the years, Mark Wainwright, Tracy Farmer, Emily Gittens, Zane Lightfoot, Chris Kefford, Chris Golder and John Nichols, to name just a few. I also introduced Mick Player, Matthew Clempner and Paul Sawyer to the BSF and I in the past I run many tournaments on behalf of the BSF. I think I have given my fair share to the promotion of Sambo.
I find it really sad that the interest in Sambo in Great Britain is not what it once was, like the days when the team included Olympians, Commonwealth champions and when sportsmen/women gained medals at European and World level. I well remember how well you fought at the World Championships in Pau, France and was so proud of the way you won the Silver medal, it is one memory that will always stick in my mind.....fantastic performance!
I admire you for introducing Sambo to Great Britain and for keeping the BSF going for so long. I was pleased to see your email concerning the new found interest and help you are going to receive from FIAS, I hope it is the start of a revival for the BSF.
To celebrate the first twenty five years of the BSF, I would like to present a trophy that should be presented on a Bi Annual basis to the 'Unsung Hero'. The award should be given to the sportsperson who has made a substantive, yet unrecognised contribution to sport. Sportspeople are nominated by members of the BSF, and must be aged 16 years or over Nominees may not put themselves forward or be nominated by a member of their immediate family. A nominee must actively help others participate in a sport at any level on a voluntary basis. The work they do must not be part of their job or take part within their place of work. Previous winners of the award will be ineligible for nomination for the period of five years after first receiving it. The award can go to players, coaches, organisers and tournament directors etc, in fact anyone involved in Sambo.
If you agree, this year the award should go to you for the tireless work you have given over the past twenty five years, however you may wish to decline and open up the nominations for this year.
Perhaps the award can be presented at the next tournament and then annually either at the AGM or National championships. To make the decision impartial the committee for deciding who should get the award will consist of you, Mick Poole and I.
Stephen Sweetlove MBE
Great idea and it is the first time since I started the BSF that anyone has recognised my contribution obviously I can not say whether I should receive the award. The fact you and Mick think I should be rewarded is a Thank you in its own right.