sport

Five women on SPOTY shortlist

The 12-strong shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award has been announced, with five women nominated.

Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes dominate the list, with golfer Rory McIlroy the only one of the dozen names not to have won medals at London 2012 this summer.

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins is the bookmakers' odds-on favourite after his historic triumph in the Tour de France and gold in the Olympics time trial, ahead of Mo Farah, double gold medallist in the 5,000 metres and 10,000m.

Andy Murray, who became the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open and also won an Olympic gold for good measure, is ranked third favourite with the bookies just ahead of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.

David Weir, the wheelchair athlete who won four golds in London, is ranked by the bookies as the leading Paralympian.

The strength of the competition meant even the only two British women who won double gold medals at the Olympics - cyclist Laura Trott and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin - did not make the shortlist.

Barbara Slater, the director of BBC Sport who chaired the shortlisting panel, admitted that leaving out such names had been painful.

Slater said in a BBC blog: "We had already extended the shortlist for the main award this year from 10 to 12, but at times we all wished it was nearer 15 or 20.

"It was very difficult to leave off Olympians and Paralympians of the calibre of Charlotte Dujardin, Alistair Brownlee, Jade Jones, Sophie Christiansen, Laura Trott, Jonnie Peacock, Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton, to name just a few.

"The panel also reflected long and hard on the heroics of stars from other sports such as (Ryder Cup golfer) Ian Poulter during the 'Miracle of Medinah', the continued brilliance of (boxer) Carl Froch and the 'magnificent seven' from champion jockey Richard Hughes.

"In any other year these sports people would probably be front-runners to win the overall award.

"If we ever needed reminding just how special a sporting year it has been, then the list of those sports people who did not make the final 12 is testament to that."

The expert panel included national newspaper sports editors and three former award nominees, Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis.

The panel also selected the winners of the coach of the year, team of the year and overseas personality. The main award will be chosen by public vote and announced at the Sports Personality of the Year show from London's ExCeL centre on December 16.

The full list of nominees:

NICOLA ADAMS

BEN AINSLIE

JESSICA ENNIS

MO FARAH

KATHERINE GRAINGER

SIR CHRIS HOY

RORY McILROY

ANDY MURRAY

ELLIE SIMMONDS

SARAH STOREY

DAVID WEIR

BRADLEY WIGGINS