Dressage’s golden girl, Charlotte Dujardin, has added yet another accolade to her impressive CV — she has been been named the Sunday Times and Sky Sports sportswoman of the year.
After her two gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, and gold at last year’s Europeans, Charlotte’s award comes after another successful summer — she won individual golds and team silver at the FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
The Gloucestershire-based rider currently holds freestyle and special titles at Olympic, European and world level.
The awards were held last night (Wednesday 19 November) in London.
“Thank you very much, I’m really privileged to accept this award. I am sorry I can’t be there,” said Charlotte, speaking via video link from Australia last night.
“I have an incredible relationship with my horse Valegro, I have been working with him for eight years now and we know each other inside out. He’s like my dance partner out there.
“In fact, he should be up on the stage receiving the award, too. But he’s at home in the stables.
“I would like to thank all my fans and my whole backroom team. People like Carl Hester and many others who have helped me to get to where I am today. I have had an incredible four years in my sport — what I have achieved is unbelievable.”
The awards are now in their 27th year and celebrate the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite performers, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational female figures.
As Charlotte was unable to attend gold medal-winning para dressage star Natasha Baker picked up the award of Charlotte’s behalf.
“It was a huge honour to pick up the award on Charlotte’s behalf,” Natasha told H&H.
“It’s fantastic for equestrian sport, especially dressage, to have role models like Charlotte for young girls, it shows that if you work hard and follow your dreams that great things happen.
“Charlotte has had an unbelievable few years and this really is the icing on the cake. I felt incredibly proud of both Charlotte and Valegro and cannot think of a more deserving partnership.”
Charlotte became the third horsewoman to win the main Sportswoman award — after Pippa Funnell (2003) and Zara Phillips (2005).
The 2014 runner up was Sochi Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold and third place was middle-distance runner Jo Pavey, the 10,000m European champion.
Today (Thursday 20 November), Olympia revealed that Charlotte and Valegro will be spearheading a stellar line up at the show next month.