WHO WILL GET YOUR VOTE? IAN COLE reviews the leading contenders for SJA members’ votes as the 2010 British Sportswoman of the Year
Who can stop Jessica Ennis retaining her Sportswoman of the Year crown? What will SJA members rate more highly, a European title or a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
The Sheffield athlete added the European heptathlon gold medal to the world title she’d won in 2009, setting a championship record points total in Barcelona in July.
Earlier in the year Ennis, 24, added the world indoor pentahtlon title to her CV and though she has decided not to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, she appears to be an obvious choice for our members’ first preference vote.
Ennis is unarguably the best female athlete in the world and has overcome the huge disappointment of missing the Beijing Olympics through injury, setting her sights on a memorable home Games in London 2012.
But Britain also has a woman Olympic champion from 2010, and many members may consider that a Games gold medal trumps a European title.
Back in Vancouver in February, Amy Williams won Britain’s first individual Winter Olympics gold medal for 30 years when she triumphed in the women’s skeleton bob.
Robin Cousins was the last Briton to take individual gold in figure skating. while the last female gold medallist was Jeannette Altwegg, all the way back in 1952.
Other contenders for SJA members’ votes include Victoria Pendleton, our 2007 champion, who is in contention again after winning the women’s sprint title at cycling’s world championships. She also won a silver in the keirin.
Beth Tweddle, never far from the podium whenever she competes for Britain, is approaching veteran status in women’s gymnastics at 25, but achieved a remarkable double in the European championships when she won gold on the uneven bars and on the floor – both within an hour of each other.
Much is expected of Britain’s swimming girls these days and at the European championships in Budapest they did not disappoint.
Fran Halsall, Gemma Spofforth, Hannah Miley, Lizzie Simmonds and Rebecca Adlington all struck gold: 20-year-old Halsall was the pick of the bunch, flying back to Southport with five gold medals in her luggage.
Here’s a brief prompt list of others you might consider voting for (and remember, you can vote for someone not mentioned on the list if you wish):
Jenny Meadows, broke Kelly Holmes’ seven-year-old UK 800 metres indoor record. Won silver at the world indoors, bronze at the European outdoors.
Laura Robson, reached the final of the girls’ singles at the Australian Open.
Jodie Williams, world junior 100m champion at 16. When she won silver in the 200m it was her first defeat in 152 races.
Rachel Cawthorn, two gold medals and a bronze at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Germany.
Emma Pooley, first British cyclist to win the Tour de l’Aude in France and first British woman to win an individual world title with the time trial.
Voting for the SJA’s annual British Sports Awards is now open. Only SJA members may vote, and they are allowed to vote only once, when they must choose their top three choices for Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year.
Voting forms are being posted to members with the SJA Bulletin autumn edition, or you may vote online.