Sports Personality of the Year – Who Will Win?
Its that time of the year again when we recognise the triumphs and disappointments of the sporting calendar, and the big sporting prize of the year is coming tonight with the BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year. This year the event is being held at the new BBC Sport headquarters in Salford Quays, and many of the heroes and heroines from the sporting world will be in attendance to see all the awards and accolades handed out. There are awards for Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Overseas Personality, and Young Sports Personality of the Year.
But who will get the coveted grand prize of Sports Personality of The Year?
This year there was big controversy when on the shortlist was released without a single female on there. However, this can’t take away the huge achievements from some of the best sporting stars of 2011. Here is a brief rundown of who has been nominated for the big prize:
Mark Cavendish – The British Cyclist from the Isle of Man has been one of the UK’s best performers in his field for the past few years, and was indeed on the shortlist last year too. He has won an astonishing 20 Stages of the Tour de France, making him 6th in the all-time list. This year he achieved an amazing cycling double when he became Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France green jersey (the award for the top sprinter) and also won the world road race, the first British male champion in over 45 years to do so. Expect Mark to be in the Top Three.
Darren Clarke – The Ulsterman nearly won this prize in 2006 as part of the triumphant Rider Cup team, but was beaten by Zara Phillips. He might believe this could be his year after an unbelievable Open Championship win at Royal St George in July. Whilst the tournament favourites could not cope with the wind and rain, Clarke held his nerve to win his maiden major title with a three-shot victory. But will this be enough to get him to the number one slot for the Sports Personality?
Alastair Cook – A huge turnaround in fortunes for Englishman Cook has seen him recognised and onto the shortlist for the main prize. After a poor 2010 season it looked like Alastair Cook would lose his status as England’s opening batsman, but after scoring 766 runs in the hugely successful Ashes Series Win saw him fully deserve his place. He then was part of the team that pushed England to Number 1 Test team in the world. His form even saw him handed the captaincy later in the year.
Luke Donald – 2011 has seen Luke Donald become the World’s Number One golfer through hard work and unflinching consistency. Despite not winning any of the majors this year or in his career, Donald has been able to show nerves and perseverance, in particular during a play-off win against Lee Westwood in the PGA Championships. The Englishman then rounded off the year to become the first man to win the US and European money lists in the same year. But can these feats be enough to not only beat his fellow golfing nominees but all the other sporting stars?
Mo Farah – Mo is one of the poster boys for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics and with good reason too. A push in his training for 2011 saw him claim a 5,000m gold at the World Championships in Daegu, along with silver in the 10,000m. This was the first long distance gold won by a British male at a global championship, a staggering fact. He rounded off the year by being voted 2011 European Athlete of the Year, beating Christophe Lemaitre. However, will he win this vote?
Dai Greene – Welshman Dai Greene delivered Britain’s first gold medal of the World Athletic Championships this year in South Korea with a scintillating performance in the 400m hurdles. The 24 year old now holds the World, European and Commonwealth titles in the 400m hurdles, but has his eyes set on the biggest title next year. If he is successful in adding the Olympic title to his accolades next year he would become the fifth British athlete to do such achievement. An amazing athlete but will his fans be waiting for next year to throw their votes behind him?
Amir Khan – One of Britain’s premier boxers has had another stellar year as he has proven he is one of the best fighters in his class in the world. In July he displayed a boxing master class to knock out Zab Judah in front of a huge crowd in Las Vegas. However, the year has ended on a sour note when, with some dubious officiating, Khan lost on a points decision to Lemont Peterson infront of a partisan crowd in Washington DC. Khan has already expressed a desire to get back into the ring to claim back what is rightfully his and no doubt this decision will be at the forefront of his mind as the year closes.
Rory McIlroy – When Tiger Woods took a break from golf, everyone was wondering who would take up the mantle of the ‘Poster Boy’ of golf. Even on his return, nobody had taken the sport by the scruff of the neck and sponsors could not find their man. However, this year has seen the new golden boy in Rory McIlroy. He won the US Open by a staggering eight shot lead becoming the youngest major winner sine Tiger. It was an incredible comeback by McIlroy as he banished the memories of his Masters meltdown, when he blew a four-shot lead on the final day in April. The courage and heart he has displayed has now made him a favourite for this prize.
Andrew Strauss – The captain of the historic Ashes victory team, Andrew Strauss has helped transform the fortunes of the English cricket team. He wrote his name into the history book this year as he led England to the Ashes series win in Australia’s home ground. He then followed this up with a 4-0 series whitewash over India to take England to the number one ranked team in the world. Since then he has stepped down as captain, so will winning Sports Personality of the Year be a big grandeur to a sparkling career?
Andy Murray – Murray has had to carry the title as Mr British Tennis again throughout 2011, and has again proved why he is ranked as one of the best players in the world. In what is one of the greatest eras in the history of the men’s game, Murray has shown consistency and determination to finish the year as number three in the world, ahead of the great Roger Federer. He made the Australian Open final, only to be beaten by Novak Djokovic, who himself was on the start of what would be a fantastic year for him. Semi Final appearances in the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, where he lost each time to Rafael Nadal, has shown just how tough the sport is at the moment. 2012 holds high hopes of that illustrious Open win for Murray.
So who will win? We predict the following:
- Mark Cavendish, 2. Rory McIlroy, 3. Darren Clarke
With the other Awards we are predicting the following:
Overseas Personality of the Year – Novak Djokovic, but only just edging Sebastian Vettel
Young Sports Personality of the Year – Lucy Garner
Team of the Year – England Test Team, but with mentions to Warrington Wolves, England Netball and Wales RFU
Coach of the Year – Sir Alex Fergusson for his long tenure, but mentions to Louis Smith and Andy Flower
To see if we are right turn in tonight, BBC One 20:00.