Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Sue Barker in the hot seat

Sue Barker with School Reporters from De La Salle Humanities College in Liverpool

Interviewing the presenter of Sports Personality of the Year
By Ryan, 14, Connor, 13, Michael, 12, and Jaan, 12
School Reporters, De La Salle Humanities College, Liverpool

De La Salle Humanities College in Liverpool has produced a number of sporting talents in recent years.

As the school that nurtured the likes of Wayne Rooney, De La Salle was selected as the venue for announcing the nominees of this year's Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Nobody could be more pleased at this news than the students themselves.

Who better to talk to Sue Barker to find out what she really thinks of Liverpool - and who she will be rooting for this year as she announces the winner of the award live from our city.

We know you have been to our city before because you have presented the Grand National in Aintree. What are your thoughts about our city?

I love Liverpool and I've seen it change so much over the years. Liverpool is the Capital of Culture, it's amazing.

Now we are going to be at the wonderful Echo Arena for the Sports Personality of the Year Awards, which is just fantastic.

What I love the most about this city is the fact that you love sports, because that is what I love. I know it's mainly football, but it's still lovely that people really love sport.

Sport is a really big part of this school which is why I'm thrilled to be here. I love being around people that love sport - and you obviously do a lot of sport here.

A lot of people in our school would like to be celebrities. What is life like in the media spotlight?

I'm not sure I'm a real celebrity, although people recognise me from A Question of Sport because it's a popular programme. It's nice though.

When I go shopping I've got to watch what I put in my trolley in case any people are watching to see if I've got cakes, biscuits or sweets in there. They want to see if I'm eating healthily or not.

But I'm very lucky to have played tennis and travelled the world.

How do you feel about presenting the Sports Personality of the Year Awards at the Echo Arena?

I'm terrified! Absolutely terrified! It's the one programme of the year I get really nervous about.

Gary Lineker and I host it on stage and it's so different for us because we are both used to being in a studio with a few cameras.

Suddenly, we have to walk onto this massive stage and not only are there 10,000 people watching, which is a whole new experience, but everyone who is anyone in sport is going to be sitting in the front row looking at us - and actually that is really terrifying.

All the great legends of the past and the great stars of the year are going to be there.

It's a fantastic event. It's such a big night. The Liverpool fans will make it special for us, I'm sure.

When you were a child, did you have any role models?

I didn't really because I grew up in a small town in Devon and sport wasn't really big. Tennis was the only thing they did well down there.

As I got older, there was a tennis player called Billie Jean King who did a lot of work with young tennis players.

Out of all the jobs you have had, which one has been the most memorable?

The Olympics in Beijing has to be up there - that was really special.

I love cricket and I went to watch The Ashes in Australia when Ian Botham was playing really well.

I also got to see Nigel Mansell, who was the Formula 1 world champion, driving in the Indie 500 in America.

Did you always want to be a tennis player, or did you have any other ambitions?

When I first started playing tennis, I never thought I'd do it as a career. Then I got a coach who was really good and at 17 I had to make a choice: would I go to college and university, or would I follow my dream?

Luckily I managed to persuade my parents to let me follow my dream and they let me go to America for a year.

Within 12 months I was ranked in the top 20 in the world. It was terrific. I have had two careers that I've thoroughly enjoyed.

Sue's 'Question of Sports Personality'
04 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality


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