Asher-Smith, who won the outstanding performance award in 2015, has had a stellar year, winning a historic European Championship treble in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. She finished 2018 as the fastest woman in the world over 200m and joint fastest at 100m.
Thomas emerged from the pack to win the Tour de France while Tracey Neville’s England women captured the imagination as they won gold in a dramatic Commonwealth Games final against Australia.
The British Sports Awards sponsored by The National Lottery were first staged in 1949. The winners of the three main awards are chosen through a ballot of the Association’s 750 memberships which includes many of the country’s leading sports writers, photographers and broadcasters.
Around 300 celebrity guests from sport, politics and the media were at the Pavilion at the Tower of London to acknowledge another amazing year of sporting achievement.
There was also a new award. The Sport for Social Change Award was created in conjunction with ConnectSport and sponsored by the Sport for Development Coalition and Oaks.
It aims to highlight the amazing work of organisations across the UK which are using sport and/or physical activity to create a positive impact on local communities and individuals – at nationwide or grassroots level.
The judges voted for the Wave Project, based in Newquay in Cornwall, and were impressed by the innovative use of a less mainstream sport to support vulnerable young people who are suffering from, or at risk of, mental health issues.
The National Lottery, which has invested over £5 billion in grassroots sport to date, have their own Spirit of Sport Award and this year the recipient is Christine Ohuruogo who, after winning a silver medal in London, promised to visit every school in her home borough to talk to youngsters, show her medals and prove that, like her, they can aim high. The 2013 SJA sportswoman of the year did just that.
Cricketer Sam Curran, winner of the Peter Wilson Award for international newcomer, looks destined for great things. Presenting the award, former Surrey and England captain Alec Stewart said: “I am quoted as describing him not that long ago as ‘the best 17 year-old cricketer that I’ve seen.’ He was named England’s man of the series in England’s 4-1 win against India after scoring 272 runs and taking 11 wickets. He’s also just had a very good series out in Sri Lanka and the awards are mounting up.”
Last year’s sportswoman of the year, Hannah Cockroft, presented the JL Manning Award for services to sport to teacher Steve Williams – whose pupils include Gareth Bale, Sam Warburton and Geraint Thomas.
Cockroft made history by becoming the first para athlete to win a mainstream sports award a year ago. The SJA awards, in 1963, were the first to recognise excellence in disability sport too. The 2018 winners were downhill skiers and four-time PyeongChang Paralympic medallists Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe and Great Britain’s men’s wheelchair basketball team, who beat the USA to won the world championships.
The Pat Besford Award for outstanding performance of the year, chosen by the SJA committee, went to double Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold, Britain’s most successful winter Olympian. Lewis Hamilton, five-time F1 world champion, was the recipient of the Chairman’s Award, presented by co-chair Andy Elliott. Patrick Collins presented his President’s Award to Mexico 1968 gold medallist David Hemery.
FULL LIST OF 2018 WINNERS
Sportsman of the Year
1. Geraint Thomas
2. Anthony Joshua
3. Lewis Hamilton
Sportswoman of the Year
1. Dina Asher-Smith
2. Lizzy Yarnold
3. Georgia Hall
Sports Team of the Year
1. England netball team
2. Europe Ryder up team
3. England men’s football team
The National Lottery Spirit of Sport Award: Christine Ohuruogo
SJA President’s Award: David Hemery
JL Manning Award for an outstanding contribution to sport: Steve Williams
SJA Bill McGowran Trophy for achievement in para sport: Menna Fitzpatrick and guide Jennifer Kehoe and Great Britain’s men’s wheelchair basketball team
SJA Peter Wilson Trophy for international newcomer: Sam Curran
SJA Chairman’s Award: Lewis Hamilton
SJA Pat Besford Award for outstanding performance of the year: Lizzy Yarnold
Sport for Social Change award: The Wave Project