Three-day eventer, Pippa Funnell, wins the BBC South Sportswoman of the Year

BBC South has voted European eventing champion, Pippa Funnell, its Sportswoman of the Year.

The award – one of 15 made to sports men and women – was decided by a panel of BBC South sports editors and reporters from around the region, who choose the personalities they believe have achieved most during the year.

British Eventing’s chairwoman, Jane Holderness-Roddam, believes the sport is now picking up in terms of its TV coverage after a period in the doldrums.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Pippa is only the third person to have won the European championship more than once.

“Yet, in spite of the fact we do so well in international competition, it is difficult to break through into the big time as a sport. At last people are beginning to recognise eventing as a professional sport and realise how much hard work goes into it.”

Pippa, 32, who has been riding since she was four and always been “mad keen”, according to her mother, was a member of the silver-medal winning team at the Sydney Olympics.