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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 12:18 GMT
The best of the rest
A look at some of the other candidates for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2003.

PIPPA FUNNELL
Pippa Funnell with Supreme Rock at the Badminton Horse Trials
Pippa Funnell became the first rider to clinch
three-day eventing's Grand Slam with wins at the Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials.

The 36-year-old followed that by leading the British team to a fifth successive European Championship, collecting an individual bronze on the inexperienced Walk On Star.

She completed the season with five wins and two third places in her seven competitions and established herself as one of Britain's strongest gold medal contenders at next year's Olympics.


NEIL HODGSON
Neil Hodgson
Neil Hodgson finally fulfilled his potential this year by becoming only the second Briton in history to become World Superbikes champion.

The Burnley-born racer had been struggling to live up to lofty expectations until he broke through in devastating fashion this season, finishing over 100 points ahead of his closest rival.

Hodgson will ride for Ducati in MotoGp next season, where he will take on three-times world champion Valentino Rossi.


JAMES GIBSON
James Gibson
James Gibson snatched gold in the 50m breaststroke at the Barcelona World Championships - the first British success at the event since David Wilkie in 1975.

The Loughborough-based swimmer saw off competition from defending champion and world record holder Oleg Lisogor.

With the 50m not an Olympic event, Gibson has turned his attentions to the 100m and in August, he set a new British and Commonwealth at the distance at the British Short Course Championships.


DAVID MILLAR
David Millar
David Millar is another eyeing an Olympic gold medal after becoming world time trial champion this year.

The 26-year-old Scot finished second at the event two years ago but made no mistake this time, finishing nearly a minute ahead of second-placed Michael Rogers.

Earlier in the year, Millar grabbed the third stage win of his career in the Tour de France where he also picked up two second-place finishes.


TONY McCOY
Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy cruised to a record eighth straight champion jump jockey title.

McCoy, third in last year's Sports Personality of the Year and now an MBE, broke his collarbone at Cheltenham in March, but still finished the season with 256 wins.

And despite being sidelined for two months in the summer with a broken arm, he looks set to overtake nearest rival Richard Johnson in pursuit of a ninth championship.


WAYNE ROONEY
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney, winner of the Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2002, set about justifying the hype this year.

The 18-year-old Everton striker received his first England call-up for the February friendly against Australia and his promise was rewarded with a place in the starting line-up in both crucial Euro 2004 qualifiers against Turkey.

At the Stadium of Light, Rooney was England's best performer in a 2-0 win while in Istanbul, the teenager shrugged off concerns about his temperament with a controlled display as England sealed qualification.


KATY SEXTON
Katy Sexton
Katy Sexton ended a long wait when she became the first British female swimmer to win an individual gold medal at the World Championships.

The 21-year-old produced a storming final length to hold off American Margaret Hoelzer in the 200m backstroke, and added gold to the silver she had already collected over the shorter distance.

Sexton was one of the stars of an encouraging championships for Britain and afterwards promised to be even better come next year's Olympics.


MARK WILLIAMS
Mark Williams
Mark Williams admitted live on BBC Television that he was "s****ing myself" after clinching his second world title in a nail-biting final at the Crucible.

The Welshman had cruised into a 11-5 lead against Ken Doherty, but in the end crept over the finishing line by winning the final two frames for an 18-16 triumph.

Williams dropped just 19 frames on his way to the final, set a new record by winning 13 frames in succession and became only the second man in history to regain the number one world ranking.






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