Riders snubbed by BBC Sports Personality shortlist

  • Leading riders say they are disappointed that no equestrians have made it on to the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

    Cyclist Mark Cavendish is the bookies’ favourite to win.

    But in a year that saw Team GB’s dressage riders first-ever team gold at the Europeans, Hayley Turner becoming the first female jockey to win a Group One outright and Mary King’s renaissance, not a single rider has got the nod.

    Carl Hester told H&H it was “disappointing”.

    There are more people riding in Britain than there are cycling competitively, so how can this be representative or fair?

    “To have a shortlist without a single woman or rider on it is archaic,” he added.

    Team-mate Laura Bechtolsheimer agreed.

    “It would be nice to be recognised by the wider sports community,” she said. “We have done a lot to raise the profile this year, so it is disappointing.”

    The 10-strong shortlist is often controversial – and this year’s all-male list has prompted the BBC to review the nominations process, in which 34 sports editors around the UK are asked for their top 10 personalities.

    AP McCoy (pictured right) won the title last year and Zara Phillips was the last woman to win, in 2006.

    This year, AP received one loyal nomination from the Belfast Telegraph, while the Sunday Times nominated Hayley Turner.

    But the only other rider to be mentioned was amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, with three nominations.

    The Sunday Telegraph ‘s Peter Mitchell said equestrian sports “have to fight just that little bit harder” to be noticed by mainstream newspapers.

    “But the fact that AP was last year’s favourite from the outset shows there isn’t any prejudice against equestrianism,” he added.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 December 2011)

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