Geraint Thomas and Dina Asher-Smith have been recognised by the Sports Journalists’ Association winning the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards respectively
The awards, which are sponsored by the National Lottery, are voted for by SJA members and recognise the achievements of Tour de France champion Thomas and European and Commonwealth champion Asher-Smith.
Thomas, also a double Olympic champion on the track in a 13-year professional career, was named as winner of the men’s award, ahead of boxer Anthony Joshua and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
Asher-Smith, the fastest British woman in history, who secured gold at 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the European Championships in Berlin after relay gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, won the sportswomen’s award, ahead of double Olympic champion skeleton racer Lizzy Yarnold, who was rewarded with the Pat Besford award for outstanding performance of the year.
SJA President Patrick Collins presented the President’s award to David Hemery, the man who smashed the 400m hurdles record to win gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He later became the first President of UK Athletics and has become an important figure in the sporting and social education of young people.
The Lottery’s Spirit of Sport Award went to Christine Ohuruogu, the former 400m world, Olympic and Commonwealth champion for her work in inspiring young people to replicate her feats, particularly with her schools visits.
Steve Williams, the PE teacher and coach responsible for giving Thomas, Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton their sporting start in life was the recipient of the J L Manning Award for services to sport off the field. He taught at Whitchurch High School, in Cardiff from 1975 until his retirement in 2011.
Elsewhere England Netball won the Team of the Year award for their Commonwealth Games success, ahead of the men’s 4x100m relay team, which won gold in Gold Coast and Berlin this year.