(Football news) British tennis star Emma Raducanu has been named BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2021 after becoming the first qualifier to win the Grand Slam at the US Open. Having started the year ranked 343, Raducanu ends 2021 with a 19th rank in what has undoubtedly been a meteoric rise for the 19 year old. She beat diver Tom Daley who finished second and Adam Peaty, who came third for the coveted prize.
Speaking to the BBC, Raducanu said “It's such an honour just to be among these nominees – to win it is pretty amazing. I watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up, so I'm really humbled to join the amazing past winners – I'm also really happy for British tennis that we managed to get this award again. All the support I've received this past year has been absolutely insane, and the energy I felt at Wimbledon this year playing in front of my home crowd is something I've never felt before."
The other three individuals shortlisted for the award were Tyson Fury, Raheem Sterling and Dame Sarah Storey while Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was knighted by Prince Charles last week was omitted from the award. The Team of the Year award was given to England for reaching the Euro 2020 finals while manager Gareth Southgate received the Coach of the Year award. Speaking to the BBC, Southgate said “Managing in football now is a very complex business. I'm fortunate to work with good people that make it easier for me."
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to four-time Olympic gymnast champion Simone Biles. The 24 year old was forced to withdraw from five finals at the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health issues but secured a bronze on the balance beam and silver in the women’s team event. Jennifer Beattie, footballer for Scotland and Arsenal Women, won the Helen Rollason Award for raising awareness of breast cancer, having been diagnosed with the illness at the age of 29 in October 2020.
The Young Sports Personality of the Year Award was given to skateboarder Sky Brown, the 13 year old became Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist in Tokyo this year, winning the bronze at the women’s park event. She was given the award ahead of the likes of England and Borussia Dortmund footballer Judge Bellingham and 17-year-old Ellie Challis who became England’s youngest ever Paralympian medal winner after winning silver at the S3 women's 50 metres backstroke event in August.
The World’s Sports Star of the Year award went to Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore who became the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham followed by a victory at the Grand National, thereby becoming not just the first woman to finish in the top four but also winning it. The Unsung Hero Award went to Sam Barlow who created a support group following the death of her husband in 2020 for people who were grieving and experiencing isolation. She has been offering sport and athletic sessions to children from deprived areas.