Roy The Boy called Lewis Hamilton from a very early stage in 2014 and he has two big priced selections for the 2015 Sports Personality of the Year award. He thinks Jessica Ennis may finally get the credit she deserves
Athletics record too good to ignore
The 2014 Sports Personality of the Year trophy may not have yet been placed on Lewis Hamilton’s vast and crowded mantelpiece yet but now is the perfect time to try to identify the 2015 winner of the prestigious award.
Hamilton, who became the first F1 driver in 18 years to win the award, is the 13/2 favourite to retain the hallowed silverware. Admittedly he looks something of a good thing to retain his F1 World Title (available at 4/5 with Ladbrokes) but there has never been a back-to-back winner of the Sports Personality of the Year accolade in its 60 year history. For that reason he simply has to be passed by.
Second best in the betting is the 2014 runner-up Rory McIlroy. It has to be considered doubtful he will enjoy as much success on the course in 2015 as he did in 2014 and there can be no disputing his is an elite sport with viewing restrictions imposed because of its pay-per-view broadcasting. Allied to McIlroy publicly announcing he is to play for Ireland in the 2016 Olympics, therein alienating English voters, there are plenty of reasons to see him come up short.
Andy Murray, as much as he is a previous winner of this award, will need to win Wimbledon – for which he is 5/1 – to have a genuine chance. He is another that has a history of not endearing himself to the English public and, with his clear allegiances at the recent Scottish referendum fresh enough in people’s minds; you cannot sensibly back him at a best-priced 10/1.
Cycling has had a fantastic recent run in Sports Personality of the Year (Chris Hoy won in 2008, Mark Cavendish in 2011, Bradley Wiggins in 2012) but Chris Froome, who ranges in price between 12/1 and 33/1, has to win the Tour de France again to have any chance.
He is currently a 11/4 co-favourite of three in cycling’s toughest race but even if prevailing in France this year the 29-year-old Kenyan born, South African reared, and Monaco-based athlete, who has ridden under a British licence since 2008 thanks to his father’s country of birth, may not appeal to the average British voter.
Of course 2015 is a World Championship year in Athletics, but regardless of his results Somalian-born Englishman Mohamed Farrah, from Portland, Oregon, USA who trains in Kenya may suffer for votes for the same reason. Do consider, despite winning two gold medals in the London Olympics, he never made the top three in that year’s Sports Personality of the Year.
One athlete who is set to do better is Jessica Ennis-Hill. Naturally she will need to return to her best following child birth in July but the omens are good. Ennis-Hill returned to full-time training in October and athletics is littered with women who have returned to sport with improved performances following child birth.
Two of the most famous are Liz McColgan (1991 10,000m World Champion) and Paula Radcliffe (2007). Do consider, as a form indicator, both received the Sports Personality accolade!
Ennis-Hill will most probably receive all of the ‘female vote’ should she make the ‘TV stages’ of SPOTY. She was runner-up in 2012 rendition of the show and finished third in both the 2010 and 2009 event. For me, on this evidence alone, Ennis is the clear form choice.
Female athletes have an enviable record in the SPOTY during the modern era. Denise Lewis was runner-up in 1998 and 2000. Paula Radcliff was winner in 2002 – a year when she won a Commonwealth gold and European Championship gold – and third in 2003. KellyHomes was the 2004 winner.
Athletes have accounted for 17 previous SPOTY accolades. The next most successful sports are Formula 1 with seven wins, followed by football and boxing with five wins apiece.
However, quickly dispensing with Rugby where England are 4/1 to win the Rugby World Cup on home soil, the outstanding bet has to be Ronnie O’Sullivan.
‘The Rocket’ may hail from a sport which has had just one previous SPOTY winner – Steve Davis in 1988 – but all other indicators are good.
O’Sullivan is flamboyant, but he has a man on the street quality which endeared Jimmy White to so much of the public during the halcyon years of snooker (’84 to ’92).
He is from Essex and that is something which tends to induce the nearby ‘London vote’. This is a mighty strong section of the public, over three times of what all Scotland can muster in total and something that has seen many people cross the line ahead in reality TV shows.
Admittedly Snooker may not be the mainstream sport it once was but it is understood by the public in its entirety and is also broadcast on traditional free to view terrestrial TV.
Probably, and most importantly, his receipt of the SPOTY trophy would not be based on a one-off performance but a lifetime of achievements.
Of course O’Sullivan will have to win the 2015 World Championships to get enough nominations to make the final ‘televised ten’ but he is 7/4 to do so and that is considerably shorter than most, if not all, of the above winning what they need to have a realistic chance in the classic BBC show/competition.
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