LONDON: Andy Murray could round off his sensational year which has seen him finish as men’s tennis world No.1 and win both Wimbledon and the Olympic title with a historic third BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The 29-year-old—who won the individual award in both 2013 and 2015 —is one of 16 nominees unveiled on Monday with the great majority reflecting Britain’s record success at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.
Footballers Jamie Vardy and Gareth Bale and golfer Danny Willett are the exceptions.
Vardy gains the nod because of his goals in Leicester’s astonishing Premier League title victory and Bale for his monumental efforts in landing the Champions League trophy with Real Madrid and then being the driving force behind Wales’s fairytale march to the Euro 2016 semifinals.
Willett gets on the list for winning the Masters.
Murray will be the hot favourite although the sentimental one and dark horse could be Nick Skelton.
The veteran took showjumping gold riding Big Star—four years after he won team gold in London—at the grand old age of 58, 16 years after a broken neck forced him to retire from the sport.
He also became Britain’s oldest Olympic champion in 108 years—Joshua Millner took shooting gold aged 61 in 1908.
There’ll be plenty of competition for the prestigious award with amongst other strong contenders two-time women’s Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams and Paralympic legend Sarah Storey.
Storey in Rio became Britain’s most successful female Paralympian — she began her Paralympics career in 1992 in swimming and then switched to cycling for the 2008 edition—taking her gold medal haul to 14.
The winner as well as the award winners in the other categories such as team will be revealed in a gala show in Birmingham on December 18.
Nominees (Public vote decides the winner on December 18)
Nicola Adams – Boxing, Gareth Bale – Football, Alistair Brownlee – Triathlon, Sophie Christiansen – Equestrian, Kadeena Cox – Athletics/Cycling, Mo Farah – Athletics, Jason Kenny – Cycling, Laura Kenny – Cycling, Andy Murray – Tennis, Adam Peaty – Swimming, Kate Richardson-Walsh – Hockey, Nick Skelton – Equestrian, Dame Sarah Storey – Cycling, Jamie Vardy – Football, Max Whitlock – Gymnastics, Danny Willett – Golf.