Adlington and Cavendish honoured by British sports writers

Rebecca Adlington and Mark Cavendish voted sportswoman and sportsman of the year for 2011 by Sports Journalists' Association

rebecca adlington
Rebecca Adlington won the SJA Award for the first time Photo: British Gas

rebecca adlington

Rebecca Adlington and Mark Cavendish have been named stars of the year by British sports writers.

Adlington, who won 800m freestyle gold at the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, edged out world triathlon champion Helen Jenkins and jockey Hayley Turner in the poll organised by the Sports Journalists’ Association.

She was presented with the prize, which she also won after her double Olympic gold in Beijing, by Anita Lonsbrough, Britain’s previous female Olympic swimming gold medallist, and won the sports journalists’ sportswoman of the year prize in 1962.

Mark Cavendish, the recently crowned world champion road race cyclist and Britain’s most successful Tour de France rider, was voted sportsman of the year in the 63rd annual poll of the association’s 800-plus members. Mo Farah, the 5,000 metres world champion, and U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy were runners-up.

England’s Ashes-winning men’s cricket team, who reached number one in the world during 2011, were runaway winners in the team of the year category, while Europe’s Solheim Cup-winning women golfers and world champion rowers Kath Grainger and Anna Watkins finished second and third.

The SJA poll has been in existence since 1949, but the association’s committee also make additional awards in recognition of British sporting excellence.

Chrissie Wellington, who became Ironman triathlon world champion for a fourth time, and who earlier in the year broke her own world record, won the Pat Besford Award for outstanding performance

Sarah Stevenson, who won a world championship title in taekwondo, while both her parents, who have since passed away, were battling terminal cancer, was presented with the SJA committee award.

The Bill McGowran Trophy, the world’s oldest annual award to recognise the achievement of an athlete with a disability, went to wheelchair tennis world number one Peter Norfolk, who will be seeking his third consecutive quad singles title at next year’s London 2012 Paralympics.

And athletics coach Malcolm Arnold, who has been training Olympic and world champion hurdlers for 40 years, received the JL Manning Award for an outstanding contribution to sport from Dai Greene, the Welshman he has guided to European, Commonwealth and world titles at 400 metres hurdles.

© Sportsbeat 2011

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