#SJA2011 recognises top sportswomen

Britain’s sports journalists will announce the Sportswoman of the Year at their annual Sports Awards lunch in London’s Covent Garden next Wednesday, December 7.

Sir Michael Parkinson, the President of the Sports Journalists’ Association, will announce to a 400-seat sell-out gathering under the chandeliers at the Grand Connaught Rooms who has been voted by the SJA members to receive the prestigious sportswoman’s trophy, which was first presented in 1959.

World-class: Jessica Ennis, with the SJA's Sportswoman of the Year trophy she retained 12 months ago

The winner will come from a short list which comprises, in alphabetical order, world champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington (winner in 2008); defending champion and heptathlete Jessica Ennis (our winner in 2009 and 2010); triathlon world champion Helen Jenkins; world champion open water swimmer Keri-Anne Payne; leading female jockey Hayley Turner; and multi-medal gymnast Beth Tweddle.

On the men’s side, the votes have produced a final six (again listed alphabetically): world champion road cyclist Mark Cavendish; Open golf winner Darren Clarke; Ashes batting hero Alastair Cook; 5,000 metres world champion Mo Farah; 400 metres hurdles world champion Dai Greene; and U.S. Open golf winner Rory McIlroy.

In the team section England’s Ashes-winning and world No1 cricket team face competition from the women’s Solheim Cup-winning golfers, the Wales Rugby Union team and double sculls world champions Kath Grainger and Anna Watkins.

The SJA British Sports Awards are the oldest national sports awards in this country, having been first presented in 1949. As well as a dedicated Sportswoman of the Year Award, the presentations also include the world’s longest running disability sport award, first awarded by the country’s sports writers in 1963.

The British Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year are selected by a ballot of the 800-plus members of the SJA. Past winners of the Sportswoman of the Year award include Mary Rand (the first winner in 1959), Anita Lonsbrough, Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Phillips, Paula Radcliffe (a record four times), and Victoria Pendleton.

  • To read profiles of some of the leading candidates for honours at the 2011 SJA British Sports Awards – women as well as men and teams – click here.
  • The announcement of the winners of all the awards will be made by 4pm on Wednesday, December 7, and can be followed on the SJA website,, or on Twitter by the hashtag #SJA2011.

  • Your SJA annual subscriptions are due on Jan 1. Make sure that you don’t lose your membership, and the rights and privileges that go with it, including discounts on the forthcoming British Sports Journalism and Photography Awards. Click here for a standing order form