10 vying for Personality award

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Published: Monday 24th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Newly crowned Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton takes on the likes of golfer Rory McIlroy, age-defying track victor Jo Pavey and dressage star Charlotte Dujardin as nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014.

Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, boxer Carl Froch, visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher, swimmer Adam Peaty, gymnast Max Whitlock and skeleton bob racer Lizzy Yarnold complete the 10-strong list for the annual prize.

PGA Championship winner McIlroy has emerged as the early frontrunner with bookmaker William Hill which puts him at 2/9 to land the title.

The Northern Ireland sportsman – who also won the Open and was on the triumphant Ryder Cup team – heads the field ahead of Hamilton at 3/1.

Hill’s spokesman Rupert Adams said: “Even at this early stage it looks like a two horse race and Rory is already a couple of lengths ahead.”

The nominations will prompt the traditional debate about others who have failed to make the list, which has been compiled by sports journalists, broadcasters and sporting stars such as Rebecca Adlington, Denise Lewis and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Hamilton secured his second F1 world title at the weekend Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, one of only seven drivers to do so.

Pavey earned her place on the list after becoming the oldest woman to claim a 10km gold medal at a European Championship when she won in the summer at the age of 40 in Zurich.

She gave birth to her second child only 11 months earlier and has spoken about having her eye on a fifth Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in two years time.

Dujardin, who was named Sportswoman Of The Year last week, won two individual gold medals and shared in a team silver at the World Equestrian Games in the summer.

They all face strong competition with Welsh international Bale having won the Champions League after his first full season with Real Madrid, as well as scoring the winner against Barcelona to triumph in the Copa del Rey final.

Yarnold made her mark by winning gold in the skeleton after hurtling head-first along the track at colossal speeds at the Winter Olympics – Britain’s first appearance on the top step of the winners’ podium at Sochi.

Froch was celebrated this year for retaining both his super-middleweight titles at Wembley after beating George Groves, and went on to become a contestant in BBC1’s celebrity gymnastic show Tumble.

Another Sochi gold-winner was Gallagher who with her guide Charlotte Evans triumphed in the Super-G, while the achievements of Whitlock have included three golds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Swimmer Peaty set a new world record for the 50-metre breaststroke at the European Championships as well as claiming a gold at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

The 10 contenders – revealed on BBC1’s The One Show this evening by 2012 winner Sir Bradley Wiggins – will now face the public vote on the night of the live show on December 14.

It will be presented by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan and broadcast from the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow. It will also feature performances by Nicola Benedetti and Simple Minds.

Andy Murray who took the 2013 title said: “It has been a sensational year for sport in Scotland with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup amongst lots of other major events that have taken place there, and as a proud Scot it’s wonderful that we have been in the position to be able to host so many key events in the sporting calendar.”

Details about the voting are at bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.

Published: Monday 24th November 2014 by The News Editor

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