Belfast Telegraph

Rea misses out again as Stokes leads way in SPOTY nominations

 

Snubbed: Jonathan Rea’s fifth Superbike world title made no impression on the BBC judges
Snubbed: Jonathan Rea’s fifth Superbike world title made no impression on the BBC judges
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

For the second year in a row, Northern Ireland's five-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has been snubbed for the nominations list for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The 32-year-old does not feature on the six-strong nominations list, a glaring exclusion given another dominant year at World Superbike level in his toughest year yet.

Despite facing significant opposition from Ducati's Alvaro Bautista, and finding himself a whopping 53 points behind his Spanish rival after four rounds, Rea had a sensational run to finish the season, winning 17 out of the last 27 races to make it a phenomenal quintuple and become the most successful rider in World Superbike history.

However, that apparently wasn't enough to earn the Ballynure man a spot on the nominations list, which is even more puzzling given he came runner-up to Sir Mo Farah in 2017 after winning just his third World Superbike crown.

It is also the second year running that there are no Northern Ireland sports stars named on the nominations list at all, with Rea not the only local star excluded from the prestigious list.

Also not included is Holywood golfing ace Rory McIlroy, who had one of his finest years as a professional after winning four times on the PGA Tour, including the season-ending TOUR Championship and the FedEx Cup, and being named PGA Tour Player of the Year.

The 30-year-old added wins at the Players Championship, the WGC-HSBC Champions and the RBC Canadian Open in a fantastic season that saw him return to World No.2 and nearly make a late run for the European Tour's Race to Dubai as well.

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Instead, England cricketing hero Ben Stokes headlines the nominees, which also include Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Wales' Grand Slam-winning rugby union captain Alun Wyn Jones.

Field athletes Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion, and world champion heptathlete Caterina Johnson-Thompson are also included, as is England and Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling.

Stokes followed up his World Cup heroics, which saw him play a major role in their win over New Zealand in a gripping final, with a performance for the ages in the third Ashes Test with an incredible 135 not out, which levelled the series at 1-1.

Asher-Smith and Johnson-Thompson were the star attractions for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships in Doha. Asher-Smith won gold in the women's 200 metres in a British record time and also took silver in the 100m, with Johnson-Thompson claiming victory in the heptathlon.

Hamilton secured his sixth F1 drivers' title earlier this month, and is now just one shy of Michael Schumacher's record.

The 2019 success was his third in a row, and his race-wins record currently stands at 83.

Sterling played a key role as Manchester City secured the domestic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in 2019.

He was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year and has been praised for taking a stand against racism in the game.

Jones captained Wales to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in Japan. The team were eliminated by eventual winners South Africa, but Jones led by example for Warren Gatland's side.

Jones was also named Player of the Championship as the Welsh completed their Grand Slam in the Six Nations.

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