sport

Brownlee 'sad' not to make list

Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee has admitted he was sad not to make the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award.

The selector's panel for the BBC award said it was a tough decision to leave the inspirational triathlete off the 12-strong shortlist.

And 24-year-old from Leeds tipped cycling sensation Bradley Wiggins or double gold medallist Mo Farah to win the award.

Speaking at the BT British Olympic Ball, Brownlee said: "I think the list is kind of fair on the whole, I think everyone knew it was going to be a very, very hard year for British sport and what a fantastic year it has been so it's hard to pick the list. It is what it is.

"Of course I'm a little bit sad not to be on it but someone picks that and it's up to them whether they leave you on or off or not, there's nothing I could have done about it so I'm not bothered."

Meanwhile, diver Tom Daley said he would love the winner to be one of the three Paralympians nominated.

Speaking on the glittering gold carpet outside the Grovesnor Park hotel in central London, the 18-year-old said: "It's very tough this year, there's so many worthy people to go on to the Sports Personality list.

"For me, I'd love it to be, I know this kind of a bit traitor-ish, but I'd love it to be a Paralympian. Sticking with my roots I'd love Ellie Simmonds to go up there, Ellie Simmonds or David Weir, I think they are really deserving winners."

Victoria Pendleton, another 2012 gold medal winner, said she was not surprised to be left off the list, despite being commended by the selector's panel.

The cyclist, who was voted off BBC dance competition Strictly Come Dancing last week, said: "I've never made the shortlist in my career so I didn't expect to this time round and with so many winners at the Olympics it's so hard to choose, I don't know how they've done it. It would have been a close to impossible task, so yeah, it's cool."

But the 32-year-old tipped fellow cyclist and double-gold medal winner Laura Trott, another surprising omission from the shortlist, to get another chance to win the award.

Pendleton, who has now quit competitive cycling, said: "I've got no doubt in my mind that Laura will have another chance at that because there's no way she's going to win any less than two (golds) next time round, maybe more."

Gemma Gibbons, who shot to fame after coming from nowhere to win silver in the Olympic judo, said she would have loved to make the shortlist.

The 25-year-old Londoner also said she would love "amazing" rower Katherine Grainger, who won gold after taking home silver at three consecutive Olympics, to scoop the prize.

"It would be amazing to be on that list but when you see the people that are on that you just think there was never a chance I would have made that list," said the judoka.

"There's always going to be people saying so-and-so should have been on that list and so-and-so shouldn't but the line-up they've got is absolutely phenomenal, they have all done absolutely brilliant, I couldn't personally pick out of it.

"I'd love Katherine Grainger to win, I met her properly for the first time last weekend and she's absolutely lovely. What she's done in her career is amazing, to finally go out and get that gold I'd love for her to win, but all of them are absolutely fantastic."

Paralympic poster boy Oscar Pistorious praised the selectors for including Paralympians in the list.

The South African said: "It's a very competitive event, it's great to see three Paralympians in the top 10 but I wish everybody the best, just to be nominated for that is absolutely fantastic.

"Even looking at that in a Paralympic year it's very uncommon so looking at this Paralympic Games Lord Coe and his team did a fantastic job of not only having the London Olympic games but hosting a fantastic Paralympic Games as well.

"It's led to many Paralympic athletes not only British athletes, but some of the top Paralympic athletes around the world, become household names and I think that is unbelievable."

The glittering ball was attended by Team GB Olympians from all 26 summer sports and over 70 London 2012 Olympic medallists including Rebecca Adlington, Anthony Joshua and "Super Saturday" star Greg Rutherford.

The athletes "inspired a nation" with "indelible memories", according Lord Coe, who made a speech at the sold-out gathering.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman said: "I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to the athletes of Team GB for the part each of you played in making London 2012 such a remarkable success.

"You inspired the nation. You inspired a generation - indelible memories that will leave a glow for years to come."

Speaking before the event, Lord Coe said the BOA fundraising event was the start of the long road to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

He said: "It's lovely, it's a great end to the year but it's another great opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary performances of the athletes that are here tonight and also an opportunity to start thinking about raising a few funds for 2016.

"Olympic sport has had a massive impact in this country and there's a real appetite among the population to see Olympic sport and that's what we've got to deliver."