In the wake of the announcement of this year’s candidates for BBC Sports Personality of the Year and its “safe” shortlist, it’s time to return a little bit closer to the present with Sport Britain’s “Best of the Week”. As always, ten winners were chosen, one from each participating sport this week (of which I found results for 33 of them) and they’re listed here in no particular order.
Without further ado, here are the arbitrarily selected ten-some:
Rory McIlroy – Golf
The only one of my ten to be nominated for the Sports Personality prize, Rory has had an amazing year and he’s recently stated that 2013 is going to be even better. What better way to reinforce this is there than, after doing the double on the PGA Tour and European money lists, to win the year-ending DP World Championship in Dubai?
McIlroy seemed out of it after the first couple of days but clawed his way back to the top of the leaderboard alongside Luke Donald and Justin Rose, then had a perfect last few holes of the weekend to claim the massive prize. He almost certainly win the public vote next month, but may have had a good chance in any other (non-Olympic) year.
Gabrielle White – Badminton
Part of Gabby may be wishing Badminton England would reverse the decision to pair her up with fiancé Chris Adcock in the run-up to Rio 2016 following this brilliant performance in the Scottish International. Not only did White claim the mixed doubles title with partner Marcus Ellis, she also reached the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles competition with Lauren Smith.
White’s not been in international action for a few weeks whilst the SuperSeries events took precedent but, when she does return to doubles with Adcock, they present a serious challenge to becoming the top doubles pairing, especially now that Imogen Bankier has left the national programe.
Reading Women – Hockey
For the second time in three weeks, a hockey team has made it to the Best of the Week and for the second time in three weeks, that team is the Reading ladies side. Last time, they thumped Clifton 5-1 in the Premier Division to reach our lofty heights. This time around, Reading produced the ridiculous scoreline of 9-1 against Slough. Canterbury may feel aggrieved to be left out, having beaten Sutton Coldfield 8-1, but them’s the breaks.
Lizzy Yarnold – Skeleton
As the nights draw in ridiculously fast and the ground begins to freeze, it’s the perfect time for Britain’s winter sports representatives to leave the country and find even colder climbs. Competing in the World Cup event in Whistler, Lizzy Yarnold was one such athlete as she slid to a bronze medal in the 22-woman field. Yarnold’s riding high in the overall standings too and she stands as a serious contender for the overall title next year.
London Lions – Basketball
London Lions have had a particularly mixed run of form of late, understandably falling short to Plymouth Raiders despite scoring 98 points, just a few days after narrowly fending off struggling Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League. Some of those wobbles were allayed in this week’s set of fixtures as the Lions were the only side to claim two scalps. The most impressive was a 94-76 exhibition against Worcester Warriors before being the latest side to ensure Mersey Tigers fail to get any points this season.
Sheffield Steelers – Ice Hockey
In the last of this week’s league inclusions, Sheffield Steelers continued their brilliant sequence of four straight wins, grabbing three of them this week. The Steelers spent their whole weekend in Scotland, playing Dundee Stars, Braehead Clan and Edinburgh Capitals. Whilst they may be concerned that they shipped 8 goals in all, they were also able to score 15 of their own. They did struggle to contain bottom side Edinburgh, but a 7-2 thrashing of Braehead lays to rest any worries that they won’t be around the top four come the end of the year.
Stuart Bingham – Snooker
Although much of the snooker world’s eyes are on young Judd Trump and his meteoric rise, it’d be unfair to ignore the achievements of the lower-ranked Stuart Bingham. The 36-year old has had a fantastic few months, particularly in the Premier League, claiming the title on Sunday night against, who else but, Trump. Bingham thrashed his opponent 7-2 in the final, having batted aside John Higgins in the semis the day before. Neither effort matches his double-header a few weeks ago, however, defeating two opponents in straight 6-0 wins on the same day. Bingham deserves his title and rising fame.
Dave Chisnall – Darts
Dave Chisnall claimed the nineteenth edition of this season’s Players Championship with a win over Phil Taylor in Saturday’s final. It’s his first major appearance in the last few weeks ago but he didn’t appear to be rusty, scoring a 180 in the 6-3 win. He wasn’t so lucky the next day, failing to progress past a Last 16 encounter with John Part, but this win will set him in decent stead for the Players Championship finals.
Hannah Miley – Swimming
She may not have had the ideal Olympics – along with the rest of Team GB’s swimming contingent – but Hannah Miley reminded us why she was one to watch with a gold and two silvers at the European Short Course Championships. Miley claimed the top prize in the 400m Individual Medley final, with consolation prizes coming in the 200m medley and the 800m freestyle. By far the best British swimmer at the meeting, she helps temporarily rest fears that we have no potential medal winners in the pool.
Jenson Button – Formula 1
There have been a few concerns over Button’s form this season, particularly in contrast to how well Lewis Hamilton has performed in his final year at McLaren, but he made a mockery of that with a storming win in Brazil. Qualifying in second, Jenson immediately tussled with his team-mate from the front row of the grid and traded places a number of times. He was helped by incidents to Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg, but would have won by a country mile had it not been for a second safety car. Now surely the undisputed “number one” of the team, Button may benefit from favourable conditions next year and has a chance to challenge for the title.