Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Women on sports award list praised

Clare Balding was delighted over the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

Clare Balding and Jo Whiley have hailed the return of women to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year short list as "fantastic" and a sign of real progress.

The pair, two of the BBC's most prominent female broadcasters, were talking at Red's Hot Women Awards in central London.

Earlier this week it was revealed that five women made the list of 12 athletes nominated for the BBC award, compared to none in 2011.

The shortlisted women were Olympians Jessica Ennis, Katherine Grainger and Nicola Adams, and Paralympians Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds.

Sports presenter Clare Balding said: "I'm thrilled. Five women on the list of 12 - I think that is a really fair reflection.

"To be honest there are a couple more who could arguably have got on there. Charlotte Dujardin, who won two gold medals in dressage. Sophie Christiansen, who was the big Paralympic equestrian heroine.

"But the five that are on there are really strong contenders. There is a great variety in terms of age, the sports they do and the personalities that they have. I am really pleased. That is progress and let's just keep improving."

Balding, who won a Red magazine award for her Olympics coverage, added: "I think it is the best list we have ever seen."

Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley said: "It can be only be a good thing. Those women have been there working just as hard as the men have and achieving threat things.

"The fact that they are getting recognised now is fantastic, that is all you want really. Why haven't they been recognised before? It is crazy."

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