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November 27, 2006

British Sport: An Annus Horribilis?

Name one British sportsperson who has had an outstanding year.

You can’t, can you? Looking down the list of contenders for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, you begin to realise that there’s either been a dearth of major sporting events this year, or we’ve just been crap at them.

  • According to the betting, Darren Clarke is the current favourite. This is the golfer who, in the four major tournaments this year, came 22nd, 56th, didn’t make the cut in the third and didn’t play in the fourth. Yes, he won the Ryder Cup, but aren’t we making more of that tournament than is appropriate? I think his nomination is only because of the death of his wife, which while tragic, surely isn’t reason enough to give him this award?

  • Zara Phillips is second favourite. She’s now the Eventing World Champion, but aren’t we clutching at straws to say that’s the best achievement of the sporting year?
  • Joe Calzaghe is third. He added the IBF Super Middleweight Championship to his WBO title. Whoop-de-do.
  • Beth Tweddle is fourth. She’s the World Champion at “Uneven Bars”.
  • Andy Murray is fifth. His main achievement is being more exciting than David Coulthard. But that’s not hard.
  • Monty Panesar is sixth. He wasn’t good enough to be picked to play in the Ashes. Steve Harmison was. Enough said, I think.

But my personal choice for sports personality for 2006 is….... David Walliams at 40/1. Which I think says all you need to know about the state of British sport at the moment.


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