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Murray wins Sports Personality 2013

Britain's tennis hero Andy Murray has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2013.

The 26-year-old, who ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion at Wimbledon this year, was presented with the famous trophy by former tennis star Martina Navratilova after topping the public vote.

The Scot, who was overwhelming favourite to win the prize, beat British and Irish Lions rugby union player Leigh Halfpenny who finished second and horse-racing jockey AP McCoy in third place.

Murray did not attend the ceremony last night as he undergoes rehabilitation in America following back surgery.

Appearing via a satellite link from Miami, Murray thanked the public for their support over the last two years which he said had made "a huge difference" at Wimbledon.

"I couldn't have done it without you," he said.

"I know sometimes I'm not the easiest person to support but I've had a lot of pressure on me for a long time so I'm just glad I managed to break through."

Murray joked that "n o matter how excited I try to sound my voice still sounds incredibly boring".

"I'm very happy and excited right now," he said. "That's just my voice, I'm sorry."

A visibly emotional Murray apologised for not attending the star-studded event, which took place in front of an audience of thousands at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and millions of viewers watching on television at home.

"I couldn't have got to the position I'm in if I didn't take my training and my preparation extremely hard," Murray said.

" I've dedicated probably the last 10-15 years of my life to this so thank you very much everyone and I'm sorry I couldn't be there."

Runner-up Halfpenny, 24, played a starring role in the British and Irish Lions' triumphant tour of Australia, after helping Wales to retain the Six Nations title in 2013.

McCoy, who won the Sports Personalty in 2010, was nominated after recording his 4,000 victory in November.

Sir Alex Ferguson received a special BBC Sports Personality Diamond Award following his retirement as Manchester United manager in May after bringing more than two decades of unprecedented success at the football club.

The 71-year-old Scot, who was joined on a stage by a host of former and current United players, said it was "a wonderful honour" and paid tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton who presented him with the prize.

"Sir Bobby's one of the reasons I existed as long as I did in my early days at Manchester United because he believed in me," he said.

"He believed in the direction that Manchester United were taking in terms of producing young players again and Sir Bobby played an integral part in that."

Sir Alex thanked the crowd in Leeds, usually fierce rivals of the Manchester club, for their warm welcome - who then jokingly booed the former manager.

Sir Alex added: "I've had a great life, great career, I'm still busy, I'm not going away.

"I picked the right time - 27 years in this industry is very, very difficult and I'm enjoying my retirement."

Hillsborough justice campaigner Anne Williams, who died in April, was awarded the the Helen Rollason Award.

Mrs Williams fought tirelessly for a new inquest into her son Kevin's death in the 1989 football tragedy, when 96 Liverpool fans were killed at an FA Cup match.

The award - named after TV presenter Helen Rollason, who died aged 43 in 1999 after fighting cancer - is given for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

The British and Irish Lions were named Team of the Year after their first Test series win in Australia for 16 years earlier this summer.

Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel was named Overseas Personality of the Year, while Lions coach Warren Gatland won the Coach of the Year prize.

Sixteen-year-old Amber Hill won the Young Sports Personality award after becoming the youngest winner of a senior World Cup in skeet shooting.

Joe and Maggie Forber were awarded the Unsung Hero prize for their work promoting basketball in Manchester.

Other nominees for the main Sports Personality Award were sailor Ben Ainslie, cricketer Ian Bell, wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft, long-distance runner Mo Farah , Tour De France cycling champion Chris Froome, 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu and golfer Justin Rose.

Murray's Sports Personality Award comes nine years after he was crowned Young Sports Personality of the Year following his junior US Open title.

He also finished third in the BBC poll last year behind the winner, cycling champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis.

The public backed the Scot this year after he finally achieved his dream of Wimbledon success on a scorching hot day in July, beating rival Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the final.

Murray's SW19 title followed his US Open victory and Olympic gold in 2012 after a number of final defeats - including the 2012 Wimbledon final when he broke down in tears on court.

Murray becomes the fourth tennis player to win the award in its 60-year history, after Ann Jones in 1969, Virginia Wade in 1977 and Greg Rusedski in 1997.


From Belfast Telegraph