The BBC will hand out the 2019 Sports Personality of the Year award later this evening. Lewis Hamilton, Dina Asher-Smith, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Alun Wyn Jones, Ben Stokes and Raheem Sterling are the six British stars in contention to win the prestigious award this year. We’ve taken a look at the six nominees to find out why their 2019 performances have led to them being in contention.
Lewis Hamilton won his sixth Formula 1 World Championship, meaning he is now just one title behind the record of the great Michael Schumacher. He was named as SPOTY in 2014 and will be hoping for a second award this year.
Hamilton had an incredible season, winning half of this season’s races, taking his career wins total to 84. All being well, he should pass Schumacher’s total of 91 wins in the not-too-distant future.
Dina Asher-Smith became the first British woman in history to win a major sprinting title as she won the gold medal in the 200m at the World Championships.
As well as winning the 200m, Asher-Smith became the fastest British woman to run the 100m as she claimed silver in that event with a time of 10.83 seconds. Furthermore, along with Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson and Daryll Neita, Asher-Smith won a silver medal in the 4x100m, finishing 0.41 seconds behind the Jamaican team.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson won the heptathlon at the World Championships in Doha and did so by setting personal best scores in the 100m hurdles, shot put, javelin and 800m.
Johnson-Thompson’s total of 6981 points is the most ever by a British heptathlete, surpassing the 6955 points score by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill at the 2012 Olympics. Aged 26, this win earned Johnson-Thompson her first major outdoor medal.
Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones was the captain of the Welsh side that won the Grand Slam at the Six Nations, and he was named as the Player of the Championship as his side won all five games.
Alun Wyn Jones
Wyn Jones became Wales’ most capped player ever during the World Cup, a tournament in which Wales reached the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners South Africa. Wyn Jones is now the second most capped player in international rugby history,
England all-rounder Ben Stokes had the type of year that many cricketers could only dream of as he was named as the Man of the Match in the World Cup final. He scored 84* to force a Super Over, then helped his team set a target in that Super Over, one that New Zealand were unable to surpass.
Not only did Stokes help win the World Cup, but he also played what many have called the best innings ever by an English cricketer. With England staring down the barrel of defeat against Australia, Stokes hit an incredible 11 fours and 8 sixes to guide England to a win in the Third Test of The Ashes. His unbeaten 135, in a record pursuit of 359, was one of the most thrilling performances ever by an England player.
England star Raheem Sterling was in fantastic form for Manchester City as his side won a historic domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Sterling was also named as Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for his performances for City, and for taking a very public stance against racism. He also scored eight goals in nine games for England to help his side qualify for Euro 2020.
Who will win?
The bookmakers make Ben Stokes the heavy favourite to win the award following his amazing summer for England. He’s followed, in order of the odds, by Dina Asher-Smith, Raheem Sterling, Alun Wyn Jones, Lewis Hamilton and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
If Stokes does win the award, he’ll become the first cricketer since Andrew Flintoff in 2005 to do so. Only four other cricketers, Jim Laker, David Steele, Ian Botham and Flintoff have won the award, so Stokes could become the fifth.
Lewis Hamilton has been voted as a runner-up on a record three occasions and added to his win, that makes four top-three finishes in the voting. If he ends up in the top three again, he’ll tie snooker star Steve Davis as the only person to ever have five top-three finishes.
If one of Dina Asher-Smith or Katarina Johnson-Thompson win the award, they’ll become the first woman to win the title since Zara Phillips in 2006.
Only one other rugby player has won the award, that was Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. Alun Wyn Jones will be hoping to become the second. He could also become the sixth Welsh athlete to win the award, following in the footsteps of golfer Dai Rees, showjumper David Broome, boxer Joe Calzaghe and last year’s winner, cyclist Geraint Thomas.
Perhaps surprisingly, only five footballers have ever won the award; Bobby Moore, Paul Gascoigne, Michael Owen, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs. In total, 21 footballers have finished in the top-three of the voting but no black player has yet to do that, so Sterling could become the first.