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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 22:12 GMT
Wilkinson scoops BBC award
England rugby hero Jonny Wilkinson has won the 2003 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The triumph capped a remarkable year for the fly-half, who scored the late drop goal which clinched the Rugby World Cup.

On a star-studded night which celebrated the 50th birthday of the annual awards, Sir Steven Redgrave was voted the 'Golden Personality'.

The five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist secured more than half the votes against fellow contenders David Beckham, Ian Botham, Bobby Moore and Torvill and Dean.

Wilkinson finished ahead of his England captain Martin Johnson, and athlete Paula Radcliffe. The other finalists were three-day eventer Pippa Funnell and motorcyclist Neil Hodgson.

Watched by his proud parents, Wilkinson received the famous trophy from the Princess Royal.

He said: "It's difficult to explain how this feels, you can probably tell by the shakiness in my voice.

"It's a privilege to be here amongst so many people I've grown up admiring and still watch it on the telly. I've been sat there staring at Boris Becker, one of my heroes, for half the evening.

"I've been massively honoured to be part of a wonderful England team. To play under and be led by Martin Johnson is also such a humbling experience.

"I want to thank everyone who voted and I'd like to thank my family and friends for sticking by me and helping me through."

Wilkinson began 2003 by scoring a tournament-best 77 points as England scooped the Grand Slam for the first time in eight years.

And the 24-year-old captained his country for the first time against Italy.

WILKINSON FACTFILE
Born: 25/5/79
Position: Fly-half
Team: Newcastle
Debut: 4/2/98 v Ireland
England caps: 52
Total points: 817
2003 points: 233
Wilkinson was again in supreme form on England's tour down under, as they established themselves as World Cup favourites with historic wins over New Zealand and Australia.

With a reputation as one of the world's best players, Wilkinson headed to the World Cup but , along with many of his team-mates, initially struggled.

It looked like the pressure was beginning to tell but the doubts proved entirely unfounded.

Wilkinson came into his own in the semi-final against France, scoring all of England's 24 points.

And the 100th-minute drop goal against Australia merely confirmed what England fans already knew - that Wilkinson was worth his weight in gold.

His rugby colleagues shared in the glory, with the England squad named team of the year.

And team boss Clive Woodward won the coach of the year award, which was presented by England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Wilkinson also presented the young personality of the year trophy to swimmer Kate Haywood.

Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was named overseas personality, ahead of racing driver Michael Schumacher.

Veteran tennis star Martina Navratilova won the lifetime achievement award.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Jonny Wilkinson
"It's difficult to explain how this feels"


Sir Steve Redgrave
"I feel very, very honoured"




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