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  Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 22:15 GMT
Radcliffe wins BBC award
Paula Radcliffe left her rivals trailing again
Racliffe polled more than 600,000 votes

Athlete Paula Radcliffe has rounded off a remarkable 2002 by winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The runner triumphed in a public phone poll vote, with England football star David Beckham the runner-up and record-breaking jockey Tony McCoy in third.

Radcliffe was a clear winner with a total of 619,577 votes. Beckham polled 113,539 and McCoy 87,972.

Earlier, a frail-looking George Best collected a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Radcliffe was presented with the famous trophy at the end of a star-studded event held at Television Centre in London.

And the runner immediately set her sights on more glory in 2003, confirming she would bid to defend her London Marathon title.


It's such a big honour just to hold this trophy and look at all the other names on it
Paula Radcliffe

The 28-year-old will then attempt to win her first world track title in the 10,000m at the world championships in Paris.

She said: "My training for the London Marathon proved very significant and was the springboard to my whole year.

"It gave me the physical strength to go on and achieve everything else, and that is why I shall be defending my title."

Radcliffe enjoyed a memorable 12 months where she went from also-ran to all-conquering champion.

She won the World Cross Country Championship and London Marathon along with Commonwealth 5,000m and European 10,000m titles.

Then the 28-year-old shattered the world record in the Chicago Marathon in only her second run over the distance.

Pressure groups mounted campaigns for various people, ranging from mountain biker Steve Peat to skier Alain Baxter, to be shortlisted.

But there were few surprises in the final list of contenders for the award, which is in its 49th year.

Also in the five-strong shortlist were boxer Lennox Lewis and rugby star Jonny Wilkinson.

Bookmakers say Radcliffe was the hottest favourite in the event's history.

George Best and wife Alex at Television Centre
George Best with his wife Alex

She was only the 11th woman, and the first since middle-distance runner Liz McColgan in 1991, to land the prize.

A frail-looking Best shrugged off ill health to collect his award from former team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was named Coach of the Year, while Europe's Ryder Cup heroes were top team.

Brazil's World Cup hero Ronaldo won the Overseas Personality of the Year, and Everton footballer Wayne Rooney took the Young Personality prize.

Tearful marathon runner Jane Tomlinson, who has terminal cancer, won the Helen Rollason Award for achievement in the face of adversity.

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 ON THIS STORY
Winner Paula Radcliffe
"I'm very grateful to all those who voted"
In-depth section on the big BBC awards

Radcliffe triumphs

Awards

Winners in profile

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08 Dec 02 | Funny Old Game
Links to more Sports Personality 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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