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Cornwall's Ben Ainslie among 12 nominated for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

Ben Ainslie

Cornwall's Ben Ainslie among 12 nominated for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year

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Ben Ainslie will again carry the Cornish flag at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award in a strong field of candidates dominated by Olympians.

The four-time gold winner, who learned to sail at Restronguet, is among a 12-strong shortlist for the award. Ainslie, who in 2012 became the first person to win medals in five different Olympic Games in sailing, will face stiff competition against the likes of cyclist Bradley Wiggins and distance runner Mo Farah.

In fact, Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes dominate the list, with golfer Rory McIlroy the only one of the dozen names not to have won medals at London 2012 this summer.

Wiggins is the bookmakers' odds-on favourite after his historic triumph in the Tour de France and gold in the Olympics time trial, ahead of Farah, double gold medallist in the 5,000 metres and 10,000m. Andy Murray, who became the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open and also won an Olympic gold for good measure, is ranked third favourite with the bookies, just ahead of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.

David Weir, the wheelchair athlete who won four golds in London, is ranked by the bookies as the leading Paralympian. The strength of the competition meant even the only two British women who won double gold medals at the Olympics – cyclist Laura Trott and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin – did not make the shortlist.

Barbara Slater, the director of BBC Sport who chaired the shortlisting panel, admitted that leaving out such names had been painful. Ms Slater said in a BBC blog: "We had already extended the shortlist for the main award this year from 10 to 12, but at times we all wished it was nearer 15 or 20. It was very difficult to leave off Olympians and Paralympians of the calibre of Charlotte Dujardin, Alistair Brownlee, Jade Jones, Sophie Christiansen, Laura Trott, Jonnie Peacock, Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton, to name just a few."

Shortlist (in alphabetical order): Nicola Adams (Olympic boxing), Ben Ainslie (Olympic sailing), Jessica Ennis (Olympic heptathlon), Mo Farah (Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m), Katherine Grainger (Olympic rowing), Sir Chris Hoy (Olympic cycling), Rory McIlroy (world number one golfer and USPGA champion), (Andy Murray, Olympic tennis and US Open champion), Ellie Simmonds (Paralympic swimming), Sarah Storey (Paralympic cycling), David Weir (Paralympic wheelchair athlete), Bradley Wiggins (Olympic cycling and Tour de France winner).

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