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Jonathan Rea runner-up at BBC Sports Personality of Year bash

By Staff Reporter

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is BBC Sports Personality of the Year runner-up 2017.

The Ballyclare man was pipped at the post by distance runner and Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah.

Rea was only 3,000 votes behind Sir Mo - 80,567 to 83,524.

Farah (34) was only the third favourite going into last night's event, with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua the bookies' tip, but finally won the award after a previous best finish of third in 2011.

Rea is the first rider to clinch three successive World Superbike titles, triumphing with five of the season's 26 races remaining. He went on to break Colin Edwards' 15-year record for the number of points scored in a season, ending up on 556.

He was also made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Speaking after last night's ceremony, a delighted Rea (30) said: "It's super nice and it's the icing on the cake of an incredible year for me.

"I've been to plenty of motorsport awards and events, but never something mainstream like this outside the sport on a national level."

The last motorcyclist to be nominated for Sports Personality of the Year was James Toseland, who finished fourth in 2007.

Rea tweeted: "Thank you so much to everyone out there that voted. You guys put me here. So humbled."

On a night of surprises at Liverpool's Echo Arena, Paralympic champion sprinter Jonnie Peacock - whose long-term girlfriend is Paralympic sprinter Sally Brown from Ballykelly - was third.

Meanwhile, Strabane man Stephen Maguire won BBC's Coach of the Year award along with his partners Benke Blomkvist and Christian Malcolm at the Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Maguire helped GB's men's 4x100m team to World gold while all four of Britain's relay teams won medals during the summer's World Championships.

Maguire is head coach for sprints, hurdles and relays and was previously director of athletics for Scotland.

The Tyrone man paid tribute to his team last night. "The guys have done an unbelievable job and they've listened to all their coaches and we're lucky, we get the cream on the cake," he said.

Meanwhile, Londonderry-born West Brom player James McClean has been named the 2017 RTE Sportsperson of the Year. The Republic of Ireland international picked up the award after his pivotal role in the World Cup qualification campaign that came up short against Denmark in the playoffs.

McClean scored one of the Republic's most famous goals when he netted to secure a 1-0 win away to Wales, which secured the playoff spot.

He has been criticised by some for refusing to wear a poppy on his team shirt.

He has cited the Bloody Sunday massacre by the British Army as a reason for his stance.

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