Davis Cup hero Andy Murray was last night crowned Sports Personality of the Year for the second time in three years after winning 35 per cent of the votes cast.
Former Rugby League player Kevin Sinfield, who finished his career in the sport on a high by featuring in Leeds Rhinos’ treble-securing Super League Grand final win against Wigan, came second, while world champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill was third.
But the limelight belonged to Murray after he almost single-handedly won Britain’s first Davis Cup title in 79 years last month, while also finishing the year as the world No2, having reached at least the semi-finals of three Grand Slams.
“I didn’t expect this,” said Murray. “A friend sent me a message the other day with an article saying: ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’, which I thought was a bit hard – on Worthing.
“This has been a five-year journey. We [Great Britain] were down in the bottom level of tennis and now we’re No1. I would like to thank the whole team and staff, who were incredible. I dedicate my life to his sport and I work extremely hard every day to make you proud.”
The accolades did not stop there for Great Britain’s Davis Cup winners as captain Leon Smith collected the award for Team of the Year after their defeat of Belgium in Ghent in November.
Twenty-time champion jump jockey AP McCoy won the Lifetime Achievement Award while New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter was awarded the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year gong after the All Blacks beat Australia in October’s World Cup final.
Football manager Michael O’Neill took the Coach of the Year accolade having led Northern Ireland to next year’s European Championships and ending the country’s 30-year absence at a major tournament.
Teenage gymnast Ellie Downie was crowned Young Sports Personality of the Year, while eight-year-old Bailey Matthews, who has cerebral palsy, won the Helen Rollason Award after finishing his first triathlon unaided. Belfast youth football coach Damien Lindsay was Sport’s Unsung Hero.