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December 15, 2006
Calzaghe and Phillips voted SJA's best

Britain's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, boxing world champion Joe Calzaghe and three-day eventer Zara Phillips, who won from a ballot of the Sports Journalists' Association of Great Britain

By Ian Cole

World champions Joe Calzaghe and Zara Phillips received the acclaim of Britain's sports media when they were voted Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team took the Team of the Year award in the annual Sports Journalists' Association poll of sports writers, photographers and broadcasters.

Welsh warrior Calzaghe, overlooked in this week's BBC awards, lifted the trophy in recognition of a year in which he extended his hold on the world super-middleweight boxing title to nine years and 19 defenses and produced the fight of the year, a battering of the previously unbeaten American, Jeff Lacy.

Runner-up was new British tennis No.1 Andrew Murray, with another boxer, world light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, third.

Phillips, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, topped the women's poll after adding the individual world three-day event title to her European crown with a stunning display on her horse, Toytown.

In the SJA polling, she was followed home by gymnastics world champion Beth Tweddle and world road cycling No.1 Nicole Cooke.

The sports journalists made a number of additional awards. Beth Tweddle and Northern Ireland's World Cup-winning single sculler Alan Campbell were given Outstanding Performance awards, while Spurs and England winger Aaron Lennon was named Best International Newcomer.

From the world of horse racing there were awards for National Hunt trainer Martin Pipe, who retired after saddling more than 4,000 winners, and for Marcus Tregoning, who trained Sir Percy to win the Epsom Derby.

Disability sport was recognized in the presentation to wheelchair racer David Weir of the Disabled Sports Personality of the Year trophy.

UK Sport, who sponsor the event, gave their annual award to badminton's mixed doubles world champions Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson,while SJA president Michael Parkinson chose Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke to receive his President's Award.

Below: Joe Calzaghe weighs in at the Hilton Hotel before his WBO and IBF super middleweight title fight with Sakio Bika of Australia on October 13, 2006 in Manchester, England (Photo by Gary Prior/Getty Images)

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