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Farah and Thiam win their country's top sports honours

Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium celebrates after the Women's Heptathlon 800 metres and winning gold in the Heptathlon during day three of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 6, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

LAUSANNE, December 18, 2017 - It was quite a weekend for Sir Mo Farah and Nafissatou Thiam as the pair took their country’s top annual sports honours.

Great Britain’s Farah was left shocked after winning the public vote to be named as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Thiam was named as the female Sports Person of the Year in Belgium for the second year in a row.

Over 83,000 people voted for Farah, the three-time European Athlete of the Year, as he collected the most high-profile sports award in Britain which dates back to 1954 after a summer where he won the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 for a third time in a row before bowing out from the track for a career on the roads.

It was the 10th major global track title of Farah’s career and he could not believe it when his name was announced as he watched from a video link at his home in London after being unable to attend the nationally televised ceremony in Liverpool.

“It is pretty amazing and hard to think about. I didn't imagine I was ever going to win this but anything can happen,” said Farah with genuine surprise after being previously short-listed on several occasions.

“If you work hard you can achieve your dreams. I am sorry I could not be there. My kid has been not well. "I just cannot believe I have won,” he added after becoming he first athlete to take the award since Kelly Holmes in 2004.

Athletics was very much at the forefront of the BBC awards as Benke Blomkvist, Stephen Maguire and Christian Malcolm were named Coaches of the Year as the men behind Great Britain’s 4 x100m world glory in London while Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill received a Lifetime Achievement award.

Ennis-Hill has seen Thiam succeed her as the Olympic heptathlon champion and this year the Belgian moved to third on the all-time list when she won at the famous multi-event extravaganza in the Austrian town of Gotzis with 7013 points before becoming the world champion in London.

In addition, she also took the European indoor heptathlon title in March.

Last month, Thiam was named as the IAAF Female Athlete of the Year and she was named the female Sports Person of the Year at the 51st gala in Brussels on Saturday.

Thiam won the same title last year as did her coach Roger Lespagnard who was again honoured for the success.

In Baden-Baden, javelin world champion Johannes Vetter, the European Athletics 2017 Male Athlete of the Year, was third in the German Male Sports Person of the Year behind Nordic combined skier Johannes Rydzek and triathlete Patrick Lange.

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