UK: Justified outrage as BBC turns 2011 Sports Personality into a SportsMAN of the Year Award Print E-mail

 London ~ Tuesday November 29 2011, page 32

Women-free BBC's Sports Personality shortlist sparks widespread backlash

• Sportswomen take to Twitter to convey annoyance at BBC list
• Wellington: 'No women in @bbcspoty top ten ... Disgraceful'

By John Ashdown

World open water champion Keri-Anne Payne was among those to miss out. (Nick Potts/PA)

Britain's sportswomen have reacted with anger and dismay at the complete absence of women on the shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.

After solid but rather unspectacular years the boxer Amir Khan and world No4 tennis player Andy Murray both featured on the 10-man list, but there was no place for the triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington, the world champion rower Kath Grainger or the world champion swimmers Keri-Anne Payne and Rebecca Adlington.

Payne was sanguine about her omittance – "Thank you so much for all your tweets! We don't need awards just the support from the Great British public! So keep it coming :)" – but Wellington was more outspoken: "No women in @bbcspoty top ten. Its not about me, its about the need to celebrate achievements of so many female GBR athletes. Disgraceful."

Adlington was also critical. "Think there has been some great women in sport this year including my best friend @KeriannePayne and sad they haven't been recognised," she tweeted. "Hopefully next year can be all women nominations after London 2012!!!!"

Gail Emms, who won silver in the mixed doubles badminton at the 2004 Olympics, tweeted: "Where are our WORLD CHAMPION women? @BeckAdlington @KeriannePayne @chrissiesmiles - so annoying.

"Think that sportsmen and women should vote. Get the true feelings of the athletes who know what it's like to win medals and be no.1"

The BBC's presenters Gabby Logan and Claire Balding were also critical. "I can't think of anything to say about there being NO women on #SPOTY top 10 list that is positive so I won't say anything," tweeted Logan, adding the hashtag "#backward".

The shortlist for the awards is collated from nominations by the sports editors of newspapers and magazines. The mens magazines Nuts and Zoo have both come under fire for failing to nominate any female athletes, while the Manchester Evening News's nominations were criticised for their parochialism – the Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov and the retired Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira.

The Guardian's nominations: Ian Bell, Mark Cavendish, Alastair Cook, Mo Farah, Kath Grainger, Dai Greene, Rory McIlroy, Victoria Pendleton, Sarah Stevenson, Sam Warburton

The Observer's nominations: Mark Cavendish, Darren Clarke, Alastair Cook, Mo Farah, Dai Greene, Rory McIlroy, Keri-Anne Payne, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann, Chrissie Wellington

Full list of who voted for whom can be found HERE