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
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
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
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