SJA crowns year for Ohuruogu, Murray and Lions

From Tom Knight at the Tower of London

Murray, Ohuruogu and the Lions win the members’ votes
at the 2013 SJA British Sports Awards

Sportsman of the Year, 2013: Andy Murray
The SJA Sportsman of the Year, 2013: Andy Murray

Andy Murray was rewarded for his monumental victory at Wimbledon when he was named the SJA’s 2013 Sportsman of the Year at a glittering ceremony, sponsored by The National Lottery and held at the Tower of London this afternoon.

Murray was the outstanding winner in a vote conducted among Britain’s sports writers, editors, broadcasters and photographers. Murray received three-quarters of the first preference votes of the SJA membership.

The Sports Journalists’ Association has been staging the British Sports Awards since 1949, making them the longest established sports awards in the country.

Christine Ohuruogu was named as the SJA’s 2013 Sportswoman of the Year, while Warren Gatland accepted the trophy for the 2013 Team of the Year on behalf of his victorious British and Irish Lions rugby squad.

Murray’s historic Wimbledon singles title – the first by a British man for 77 years – was enough to hold off the challenge posed by an illustrious posse of contenders headed by Mo Farah, the double gold medallist at the athletics world championships, and Tour de France champion, Chris Froome. Other leading contenders were the US Open winner, Justin Rose, record-breaking jump jockey AP McCoy and the America’s Cup sailing hero, Sir Ben Ainslie.

Alex Corbisiero scores the Lions' opening try against Australia during the decisive third Test in Sydney. The British and Irish Lions won the SJA's vote for Team of the Year
Alex Corbisiero scores the Lions’ opening try against Australia during the decisive third Test in Sydney. The British and Irish Lions won the SJA’s vote for Team of the Year

Ohuruogu won the poll of SJA members following her exhilarating, last-gasp 400 metres victory at the world championships in Moscow.

The sprinter was also presented with the Pat Besford Trophy for the year’s Outstanding Performance, regaining the world title after a six-year gap and breaking a British record which had stood for 29 years in doing so.

In the SJA voting for the Sportswoman of the Year title Ohuruogu was pushed all the way by cycling’s world champions, Becky James and Laura Trott, bob skeleton world champion Shelley Rudman and triathlon world champion, Non Stanford.

Since 1963, the SJA has also recognised achievement in Paralympic sports and this year’s winners of the Bill McGowran Trophies were athletes who followed their success at London 2012 with more gold medals in 2013.

Aled Davies was named the SJA’s Paralympic Sportsman of the year after his F42 discus and F42/44 shot put gold medals at the IPC world championships in Lyon.

Double world champion Hannah Cockcroft: the SJA's Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year
Double world champion Hannah Cockcroft: the SJA’s Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year

Hannah Cockcroft, the T34 100m and 200m world champion, was named as the 2013 SJA Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year.

The day’s master of ceremonies, Jim Rosenthal introduced a number of special awards, including the JL Manning Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Sport, which was presented to Dame Diana Ellis, the vice-president of the Sport and Recreation Alliance who has been involved in British rowing at every level for 52 years.

David Walker, the SJA Chairman, said: “It speaks volumes for the brilliance of British sportsmen and women that the glories of 2012, the London Olympics year, have been matched, and in some cases surpassed, in 2013.

“While Andy Murray was our runaway winner of the men’s award, the women’s and team awards were highly competitive. Christine Ohuruogu was our deserved winner of the women’s title and after the closest of votes the British and Irish Lions won our team award.

“The SJA is the largest independent sports writers’ association in the world.

“Our members are at the sharp end of sport and yet again have delivered their verdict on the athletes who made 2013 another great year for British sport. This is truly a great era for British sport. And as an association, the SJA is grateful for the support we receive from our Sports Awards sponsor The National Lottery.”


Tue Dec 17: SJA Masterclass with Twitter’s Lewis Wiltshire. Click here to book your place


Mon Mar 24: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, Grand Connaught Rooms, London
Mon Apr 14: SJA Spring Golf Day: Croham Hurst GC, Surrey. Booking details to be announced