Riders have expressed dismay that the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) does not contain a single equestrian.
The 12 contenders include Olympic heroes Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy and Jessica Ennis and tennis player Andy Murray, who won his first grand slam as well as Olympic gold this year. Gold medallist and Britain’s first winner of the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins is the bookies’ favourite to lift the trophy on Sunday, 16 December.
Event rider Harry Dzenis reflected the feelings of many H&H readers when he tweeted: “No equestrians chosen! Charlotte Dujardin’s amazing double gold or our showjumping team’s gold was surely worthy?”
The British Grooms Association tweeted that it was great to hear Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans “commenting on the lack of equestrians in the SPOTY list”.
Chris enthused about Team GBR’s equestrians on his breakfast show during the Olympics, and persuaded the Greenwich Tavern to rename itself The Gold and Saddle.
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport acknowledged that the SPOTY shortlist would disappoint many in her blog.
“Team GB notched up an incredible 29 gold medals, with Paralympics GB adding a further 34.
“It was very difficult to leave off Olympians and Paralympians of the calibre of Charlotte Dujardin and triple paralympic gold medallist Sophie Christiansen,” she said.
“In any other year these sportspeople would probably be front-runners to win the overall award,” she added.
After last year’s furore, when not a single woman was nominated for SPOTY, the BBC has made changes to the judging panel. This year’s nominees included Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis and paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
The show will be broadcast live on Sunday, 16 December at 7.35pm on BBC 1 and BBC Radio Five Live and members of the viewing public will vote on the night to decide who is crowned Sports Personality of the Year.
Winners of the team, coach and overseas sports personality of the year — who were chosen by the shortlist panel — will be announced on the night.
Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has been campaigning for the Olympic and Paralympic riders to win the team award.
Who do you think should have made the short-list? Share your views in H&H forum