Belfast Telegraph

BBC sports award nominees unveiled but there's no Northern Ireland hero for host city Belfast to cheer on

By Steven Beacom

We may be hosting BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the first time ever but the Northern Ireland people will not have any of their own to vote for after the shortlist for the big prize was announced last night.

The 12 nominees for the prestigious award were revealed on The One Show but there was no place for Northern Ireland world champions Jonathan Rea, Michael Conlan or Carl Frampton or horse racing legend Tony McCoy, who won a 20th jump jockey title in 2015.

Instead a panel of judges opted for Lizzie Armistead (cycling), Lucy Bronze (football), Jessica Ennis-Hill (athletics), Mo Farah (athletics), Chris Froome (cycling), Tyson Fury (boxing), Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1), Andy Murray (tennis), Adam Peaty (swimming), Greg Rutherford (athletics), Kevin Sinfield (rugby league) and Max Whitlock (gymnastics) to battle it out for the public vote on Sunday, December 20 when the event takes place at the The SSE Arena in Belfast.

The judging panel included sports stars, newspaper editors, BBC representatives and our own Dame Mary Peters, a previous Sports Personality of the Year winner.

Barbara Slater, BBC Director of Sport and Chair of the panel said: "As always, there was a lot of debate and discussion amongst the industry panel when deciding the final list of nominees. The panel was faced with some incredibly tough choices. All nominees have achieved exceptional success in their respective fields in the past year and we wish each of them the best of luck, while also looking forward to a great night in Belfast."

Normally the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year consists of 10 contenders, but this time around the panel, which originally met in mid-November, agreed to add two more to the list following the weekend achievements of Fury and Murray.

Fury, from Manchester, produced a huge shock on Saturday night in Germany to beat Russian Wladimir Klitschko and become heavyweight champion of the world while in Belgium on Sunday Murray inspired Great Britain to Davis Cup success for the first time in 79 years. The Scot won his singles match against Belgium's David Goffin to complete a sensational victory for his team.

Sports fans all over the UK will feel both deserve their place in the 12, though there may be debate surrounding others, some of whom would not be classed as household names.

There are several world champions in the list, though local heroes Rea, Conlan and Frampton have also carried that mantle this year and would have been popular inclusions in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year Ballyclare motorcycle rider Rea won the World Superbike Championship, Belfast boxer Conlan claimed the World Amateur Championship at bantamweight to add to his 2015 European title and Frampton, from Tigers Bay, successfully defended his IBF World Super bantamweight title.

Legendary Moneyglass man McCoy was also excluded despite winning his 20th jump jockey title in his retirement year - though it will come as no great surprise if the 41-year-old collects the Lifetime Achievement Award at the show, which will be presented by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan.

A host of other awards will be presented on the night including Coach of the Year - with Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill a strong contender in that category after leading the team to the Euro 2016 finals.

Who's on the list for one of sport’s most coveted prizes

Lizzie Armistead (cycling): Retained World Cup title and won World road race title.

Lucy Bronze (football): Helped England finish third in the Women’s World Cup.

Jessica Ennis-Hill (athletics): Returned to action after having a baby to win the heptathlon at the World Championships.

Mo Farah (athletics):  Won World Championship double in China, claiming 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals.

Chris Froome (cycling): Won the Tour de France for the second time with Team Sky.

Tyson Fury (boxing): Pulled off a stunning upset to defeat Wladimir Klitschko and become world heavyweight champion.

Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1): Retained his Formula 1 title, becoming a three-time world champion.

Andy Murray (tennis): Inspired Great Britain to its first Davis Cup win in 79 years.

Adam Peaty (swimming): Won the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 4x100m mixed medley relay at the World Championships.

Greg Rutherford (athletics): Won the World long jump title to become only the fifth British athlete to be Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion at the same time.

Kevin Sinfield (Rugby League): Captained Leeds to Super League Grand Final success, securing the treble for the club for the first time.

Max Whitlock (gymnastics): Became the first British male gymnast to win World Championship gold, which he achieved in the pommel horse competition in Glasgow.

Belfast Telegraph


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