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BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Hall of Fame for Classic stalwart Sawyer
A KEY figure in the growth of his sport in Great Britain has been inducted into the Weymouth Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Graeme Sawyer, 53, had the idea for the Weymouth Classic tournament in 1983 when it was the first event of its kind in the UK.
The sport has gone from strength to strength since then and on the 30th anniversary of the Weymouth tournament recently, Sawyer became only the 16th person to enter the Hall of Fame.
“It’s a very big honour,” said the event organiser. “It’s quite an exclusive list to join and includes most of the top players from over the years.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all so it was a nice surprise.
“It was nice to be presented with a trophy and be recognised for what I have done in the sport.”
The Hall of Fame has been running since 2000 and includes both players who represented the country when beach volleyball was first introduced to the Olympic Games in 1996 in Am-anda Glover and Audrey Cooper.
Three-time Weymouth Classic winner and player of the tournament in 1987, Vince Joyce, was the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Four players to have won the competition on five occasions – Denise Austin, Glover, Grant Pursey and Ian Fairclough – also feature, as does event co-founder Steve Allgood.
As well as volleyball official, event organiser and coach, Saw-yer’s on-court career has seen him player in the top indoor division in England as a setter for Weymouth Rembrandt and OBC Poole.
Sawyer, now a special needs teacher at the Portland Academy, organised the Weymouth tournament alongside Allgood, with 16 men’s teams taking part.
The Weymouth man also helped organise the first women’s European Beach Volleyball event in 1996.
And last year he continued his support for the sport by being an Olympics gamesmaker at the beach volleyball, which was staged at Horse Guards Parade.
“Being a gamesmaker was fantastic, he added. “I was on the main court and got to meet all the players and chat to them.
“To then have the Hall of Fame honour is very pleasing.”
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