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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 04:50 GMT
Wilkinson stunned at award
Jonny Wilkinson
I was just enjoying the evening until it got to the end and I realised I might have to go up there
England Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson admitted he was "flabbergasted" to be named the 2003 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The 24-year-old said it capped a remarkable seven days, in which he has taken part in the victory parade through London, met the Queen and picked up an MBE for services to rugby.

"I've had an incredible week but nothing's hit me quite as hard as today," he told BBC Sport.

"I've had a week of lifetime experiences and now I've got this honour which I'm never ever going to forget."

Wilkinson finished ahead of his England captain Martin Johnson in the poll, with athlete Paula Radcliffe in third place.

On a star-studded night, Olympic rowing legend Sir Steven Redgrave was voted the 'Golden Sports Personality' in a special poll to mark the show's 50th birthday.

Wilkinson's England boss Clive Woodward was named coach of the year, and the squad won the annual team award.

Bookmakers had stopped taking bets on Wilkinson to land the award after his winning drop goal sparked nationwide celebrations.

But the modest fly-half said: "I never presumed I'd win it and when I saw Martin Johnson coming second, I was absolutely flabbergasted."

As ever, Wilkinson was keen to pay tribute to his team-mates, who triumphed in Australia eight months after their Six Nations Grand Slam.

"It's been a good year for me but it's a great year for the team," he said.

"Whenever I walk into a room and see these guys, it makes me feel that bit more relaxed and more confident in myself.

"Tonight was no different. I felt a bit alone there on stage when they weren't there - I wish they could have been."

"I don't think I could ever pay them back enough."

Wilkinson, who received his award from the Princess Royal, added that he was overwhelmed to be surrounded by so many sporting heroes on the 50th anniversary of the BBC awards show.

"I was just enjoying the evening until it got to the end and I realised I might have to go up there," he said.

"I was just delighted to be there. I've just had to tell about half a dozen of my childhood heroes that I've got to go and that I'll see them later.

"I wanted to stay there and talk for hours."




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




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