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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 20:33 GMT
Watson's epic fightback
Michael Watson
Brain-damaged former boxer Michael Watson has been honoured with the Helen Rollason Award at the 2003 BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

Watson received the award, for courage and achievement in the face of adversity, after completing the London Marathon earlier this year.

He was presented with the trophy by another famous fighter, 'Marvellous' Marvin Hagler, who called him "a great inspiration".

The 38-year-old Watson, who is partially paralysed, finished the course in six days, raising millions of pounds for the Brain and Spine Foundation.

Watson was critically injured in a WBO super-middleweight title fight against Chris Eubank in September 1991.

Where there's a will there's a way
Michael Watson

He spent 40 days in a coma and had six brain operations, after which doctors told him he would never walk again.

The idea that he would even contemplate a marathon, much less complete it was apparently beyond the realms of possibility.

But the medical experts reckoned without Watson's boundless determination, and unshakable faith in God.

Watson, for whom every step forward takes an extraordinary effort, needed an hour to complete every mile, and took on the course by covering two miles in the morning and two more in the afternoon.

He was supported along the way by hundreds of well-wishers, and was joined on the route by the likes of boxer Audley Harrison, promoter Frank Warren and comedian Ricky Gervais.

Watson walked the final leg with Eubank, who described his former foe's achievement as "a miraculous feat of human endeavour".

At the finish line, the ebullient Watson said he felt "super" and paid tribute to those who had aided his recovery.

In June, he was honoured by the Variety Club of Great Britain where he promised there would be "much more to come" including another tilt at the London Marathon in 2004.

When asked about his remarkable fightback over the last decade, Watson told the BBC Sports Personality audience: " Where there's a will there's a way - faith and determination."

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