Basketball stat men are hoping for Olympic role

Worthing statisticians Owen Peck, Alan Sweetman-Hicks, Ross Hodges and Frank Gainsbury

Worthing statisticians Owen Peck, Alan Sweetman-Hicks, Ross Hodges and Frank Gainsbury

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FOUR basketball statisticians from Worthing are hoping to be involved with the Olympics and Paralympics next year in London.

The quartet have been or still are involved with Worthing Thunder and Alan Sweetman-Hicks, Thunder chairman Frank Gainsbury, Ross Hodges and Owen Peck, who used to do the stats for Worthing Bears and Brighton Bears, have already been on training courses to prepare for the games.

Sweetman-Hicks said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with the games in the UK. It won’t happen again in my lifetime and I like to think of it as a reward for being involved with basketball stats for 14 years.

“Owen has been involved for 18 years, Frank for 10 and Ross is on the fast track as he started at the beginning of last season.

“We’ve all been nominated by England Basketball to take part and, from the 34 people around the country who will be technical officials, Worthing has got the biggest proportion with four.

“It’s great for the town. We have a lot of local athletes who are looking to compete and it would be a privilege for the town and the basketball community to have four guys from the club involved.”

The quartet have been on training courses in Birmingham in April and in Guildford in June and also went to a London Prepares basketball event in July.

They also have another seminar at the beginning of December and Sweetman-Hicks said: “The software we’d be using for the games is different to what we’ve used before. The EBL software is different from the BBL and the Olympics are different again, so it’s a case of familiarising ourselves with it.

“There will be six statisticians for every game – three for each team, whereas we just have two doing a game in the BBL and EBL.

“It’s still an ongoing process but, fingers crossed, we’ll all be involved with the Olympics. They need 24 technical officials for the Olympics and 24 for the Paralympics, so some people, if they have the time, will do both.

“I’m going for both, while Frank, Owen and Ross have all said that they can do either.”