Adlington and Hoy acclaimed at SJA Sports Awards

From Ian Cole at The Brewery in London
Britain’s tremendous Olympic performances in Beijing were recognised today when Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year by the country’s sports journalists at the SJA’s 60th anniversary British Sports Awards.

Hoy, who won three cycling gold medals, and Adlington, who won two in the swimming pool, finished top of a poll of the 600-plus members of the Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain, made up of sports writers, broadcasters, photographers and sub-editors.

Hoy, 32, from Edinburgh, won gold in the individual sprint, the team sprint and the Keirin in the Beijing velodrome while Adlington, 19, from Mansfield, won the 400 metres freestyle gold and then, five days later, shattered a 19-year-old world record to win the 800m freestyle.

The Great Britain cycling team, who won 14 medals, including eight golds, in Beijing together with nine golds and two silvers at the world track championships staged in Manchester in March, were named Sports Team of the Year.

The awards were presented at a lunch today in the City of London in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal – the winner of the Sportswoman of the Year Award in 1971 – and was hosted by the President of the Sports Journalists’ Association, Sir Michael Parkinson.

Runner-up to Hoy in the men’s poll was Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, with three-time Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie third.

Behind Adlington in the women’s voting were Nicole Cooke, the Olympic road race champion, and Christine Ohuruogu, who won Britain’s only athletics gold medal in Beijing, winning the 400m final.

Today’s event, sponsored by UK Sport and Sky Bet, marked the 60th anniversary of the Association, and in recognition of that a special presentation was made to Dorothy Tyler, who won a silver medal in the high jump at the last London Olympics in 1948. Tyler, now aged 88, was one of several veterans from the 1948 London Games – both competitors and retired sports journalists – who attended the event as special guests of the SJA.

Many former Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the year, drawn from each decade of the Association’s history, were among the 400-plus attending the event.

Other awards went to cyclists Nicole Cooke and Rebecca Romero, the latter the only British woman to win Olympic medals in two different sports, having won a rowing silver in Athens four years ago.

The Bill McGowran Trophy for the Disabled Sports Personality of the Year, went to Paralympic cyclist Darren Kenny, while the SJA President’s Award went to the Great Britain coxless four, who won gold in Beijing.

Best International Newcomer was the sprint cyclist Jason Kenny.

Simon Clegg, the outgoing British Olympic Association chief executive and Britain’s chef de mission at seven Olympic Games, was given the JL Manning Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Sport – past winners of which have included Tony Jacklin, Ian McGeechan, Sir Bobby Charlton, Clive Woodward and Dave Brailsford.

To read a profile of Rebecca Adlington from this week’s OSM, click here

Click here to read an interview with 2008 Sportsman of the Year Chris Hoy by Richard Moore, his biographer (and SJA member)

To read a feature by SJA member William Fotheringham on Britain’s all-conquering cycling team, click here

*UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade. Sky Bet are the SJA’s newest partners, the sponsorship being announced last month.

Both partners support the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards and the sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

The SJA Annual Sports Awards are the longest established of their kind in the United Kingdom, having been first staged in 1949. The 60th SJA Sports Awards will be staged on November 26 in London.

Join the SJA today – click here for details and membership application form