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Monday, December 14, 1998 Published at 02:23 GMT


Owen nets BBC sports award

Owen scores against Argentina in France 98

Michael Owen has been voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 1998.

[ image: European and Commonwealth champion heptathlete Denise Lewis came second]
European and Commonwealth champion heptathlete Denise Lewis came second
The Liverpool player, who captivated the world with his goal for England against Argentina during France 98, came top of the viewers' poll.

Denise Lewis, winner of the heptathlon gold at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships was second.

Welsh 400m runner Iwan Thomas, who claimed three gold medals in six weeks at major championships this summer, came third in the voting with more than 500,000 ringing the BBC's telephone poll.

Michael Owen: A great early birthday present
Owen said: "I would like to say thanks to all the players and staff of England and Liverpool.

"Football is a team game, and without them this would not have been possible tonight.

[ image: Triple gold medallist Iwan Thomas came third in the BBC's poll]
Triple gold medallist Iwan Thomas came third in the BBC's poll
"It has been a great year for me, and this has topped it off. It has been a great early birthday present."

It has been an astonishing year for Owen. On 11 February he became the youngest England international this century when he started a friendly match against Chile at Wembley.

Four months later, he became the youngest England goalscorer when he netted the only goal against Morocco in Casablanca after being named in Glenn Hoddle's World Cup squad.

[ image: Award for Bergkamp for goal in World Cup quarter-final]
Award for Bergkamp for goal in World Cup quarter-final
He was presented with the BBC award only hours after playing in - and missing a penalty in - Liverpool's 1-0 Premiership defeat at Wimbledon.

Arsenal and Holland striker Dennis Bergkamp also received a special award for the best goal of the World Cup from BBC pundit Alan Hansen for his brilliant strike against Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Golfer Mark O'Meara took the Overseas Personality of the Year for winning the US Masters, the Open Championship and the World Matchplay trophy.

[ image: Mark O'Meara wins the World Matchplay Championship 98]
Mark O'Meara wins the World Matchplay Championship 98
The 41-year-old American said the award was an incentive to all older players of the game.

"This honour is a special one to go alongside the others. To win the US Masters and the British Open in one year is a tremendous accomplishment and one that I never have dreamed would have happened to me," said O'Meara.

"It has been a phenomenal year and I don't want it to end. Golf is for everyone and the ball sitting on the ground doesn't know how old you are. If you go out there and give it your best, even us old guys win one once in a while."

O'Meara accepted his award from fellow golfer, South African Ernie Els.

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