Zara Phillips is one of 10 sports stars to make the short list for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2006.
Phillips, who won a gold medal at the World Equestrian Games this year, will join tennis player Andy Murray and gymnast Beth Tweddle at the awards ceremony next Sunday at Birmingham NEC – to be screened live on BBC One ( 7.00-9.00pm, 10 December).
A public vote on the night will decide the eventual winner – Phillips is currently bookies’ second favourite with odds of 10/3. Golfer Darren Clarke is the 4/1 favourite.
The shortlist was put together by an expert panel of sports editors and the public. Phillips told HHO she is “blown away” to be amongst such a prestigious list of nominees. “The fact that she’s been nominated is the big thing,” her agent was keen to point out. If she was to win, she would become the third equestrian sports star to claim the prize – David Broome won in 1960 and Phillips’ mother, Princess Anne, was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.
“The award would be greatly deserved and it would be wonderful for Zara to achieve the same as her mother,” commented Peter Durrant, chief executive of British Eventing.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year is one of Britain’s most prestigious sporting prizes. “It has got a lot of tradition and history attached,” said a spokesperson for BBC Sport. Equestrianism has featured thinly in the award’s 53 year history: only 10 riders have made it into the top three, but a win from Zara could bring the sport into the limelight.
“Zara winning would further illustrate the high level of success that exists in equestrian sport,” said Andrew Finding, chairman of the British Equestrian Federation, “and the huge talent amongst young people in our sport.”
The public will be able to vote for Zara either by phone or text vote during the programme – details of the numbers to vote on will be given during the coverage of the event.
For more information visit www.bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.
Jenson Button – Formula One
Joe Calzaghe – Boxing
Darren Clarke – Golf
Nicole Cooke – Cycling
Ricky Hatton – Boxing
Andy Murray – Tennis
Monty Panesar – Cricket
Zara Phillips – Equestrianism
Phil Taylor – Darts
Beth Tweddle – Gymnastics