Bob Champion to be honoured at BBC Sports Personality awards

  • Bob Champion is to be honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) awards tonight (22 December).

    The former jockey will receive the Helen Rollason award, which recognises “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”.

    In 1979 Bob was diagnosed with testicular cancer and given just months to live. But two years later he went on to win the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti.

    The horse had also fought back after suffering serious leg injuries and the pair’s story was made into the film Champions.

    “I’m absolutely chuffed,” Bob told H&H. “It’s a great honour.

    “But you must remember [trainer] Josh Gifford and [owner] Nick Embiricos – without them the horse would have been put down. He was in plaster for six months and had to be a good patient.

    “I’d wanted to ride in the Grand National since I was seven years old and it was the race I was desperate to win. Going into it, I was actually very confident and it meant everything to win. It was such a great feeling.”

    Bob retired from the saddle in 1982 and set up the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which has raised more than £12million.

    The award was set up in 1999 in memory of BBC sport reporter and presenter Helen Rollason, who died of cancer aged 43.

    The SPOTY awards will be shown on BBC1 at 8pm.

    For further information visit: www.bobchampion.org.uk and www.bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.

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