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 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 17:31 GMT
Who makes your Honours List?
England's Jonny Wilkinson in action during the Six Nations
Sam Torrance and Jonny Wilkinson are among the big sporting names included in the New Year Honours List.

Who were your stars of 2002?


Europe's Ryder Cup captain Torrance has been made an OBE while England's rugby union star Wilkinson has become an MBE.

Athletes Steve Backley and Ashia Hansen were also honoured with a OBE and MBE respectively.

Two BBC commentators were honoured, with rugby union's Bill McLaren becoming a CBE and cricket's Henry Blofeld the OBE.

But who were the unsung heroes of 2002?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


It is with much shock that I read this column.

At present Paula Radcliffe does not deserve more than an MBE. For years now she has promised much and has only started to deliver. Let her go forward from now and become a true great, rather than a two-season-wonder. Then you can talk about a Dame.

I agree that Tony McCoy, Bill Nicholson and Tony Hand should be honoured. Along with these guys, we should look at: Alan Stubbs: a CBE for courage (the Evertonian has beaten Cancer twice). Dario Franchitti: an OBE for developing British motorsport abroad. Murray Walker: a knighthood for everything, the man is a legend!
Martin, UK, Australia

I agree whole-heartedly with Steve - Jane Tomlinson gets my vote too. I read an interview with her in Runners' World which literally had me in floods of tears and with a huge smile on my face at the same time.

Services to the strength of the human spirit? As for Paula, she can wait a few years to be a Dame can't she?
Peter, Canada

What about the minor sports stars, like Tony Hand. One of, if not the highest, point scorer in ice hockey in the UK, he has also represented his countries (Scotland & Great Britian).

He is now a player-coach of a successfull British National League Team, the Dundee Stars, and he is an excellent ambassador for the sport of ice hockey. I know that us ice hockey fans don't often get a look in, but come on, do something about it!
Steve Merry, England

One of the reasons the system needs a shake-up is shown in the lack of knowledge shown by many contributors here. Some seem never to have heard of the award of a Dame to a woman (ever heard of Dame Judi Dench?).

I can't believe that Tony McCoy has not made the New Years Honours List

Charlie Langshaw, Wales

In any event, Paula Radcliffe needs to achieve much more - and get older - before she could have a damehood. Before that, there's MBE, OBE, CBE...

As for Niall Quinn, he's not British. However, I do think he should be given an honorary award for his generosity.
Colin, England

If there was an award for someone who had helped their team, it would have to go to Michael Vaughan. He has scored six centuries this year, and two of them were against the best side in the world, Australia. Plus, he is the leading run scorer in the world for this calendar year.
David Nutter, England

Gary Ellwood; Niall Quinn could and should perhaps be given an award in recognition of him giving away so much money to charity, but as he is Irish, he is not a member of the Commonwealth and therefore the Queen has no reason to honour him
Pete, Ireland

Maybe Paula Radcliffe wasn't mentioned because she already has an MBE. We can't go around knighting everyone just because they've had a great year.

Steve Redgrave won multiple Olympic gold medals over a couple of decades before he was knighted. I'm sure Paula has it in her to achieve as much, but she's not there yet.
Joe, UK

I can't believe that Tony McCoy has not made the New Years Honours List. What does he have to do to get this honour. Other sports people have been given this wonderful honour, people who have achieved far less.

Jump jockeys are the hardest working and bravest sports people in the world and we have produced the best in the world so why can't we honour them for once, especially one so brilliant.
Miss Charlie Langshaw, Wales

When will Brian Clough become a Sir?

John Harrison, UK

I'm glad to see that Alan "The Birch" Birchenall has finally got what he thoroughly deserves - an MBE. At every Leicester City home game for the past 12 years he has run 22 times around the pitch and raised a hell of alot of money for charity. He was also a good player in his time!
Adam Eames, Boston, UK

Adding my voice to the bafflement at Paula Radcliffe's omission from the New Year Honours list. Her athletic achievements in 2002 tower over all others.

Yes, she will no doubt go on to achieve more but surely her achievements to date warrant recognition. I hope she doesn't allow this slap in the face to bring her or her future performances down.
Jack Crowe, UK

I would like to recommend Roland Armstrong of the Down Area Winter Football League for an award. He runs the whole show from Treasurer to Secretary and arranging matches. The league would not be the same without his abilities.
Alan Hayes, Northern Ireland

How about Sir Gareth Edwards (greatest rugby player of all time) and Sir John Charles?
Guto, Wales

When will Brian Clough become a Sir? Having won the European Cup twice - back to back, the man deserves the honour. I've no issues with Fergie or Bobby Robson having got it, but it's time the "system" honoured the great man before it's too late, as it was with Bill and Bob at Liverpool.
John Harrison, UK

Can't understand why Lennox Lewis was overlooked. As a world champion boxer he has put Britain at the forefront of world sport. He is a gentleman and a credit to England.

Glad to see that Lt Col Digby Jeremie Willoughby (executive secretary of St Moritz toboganning club) received an MBE though; he has done so much to help Britain's sporting image.
Mal Walker, Australia

Purely based on my football club, Steve Potts would be my choice. Years and years of loyal service to West Ham United FC and so cruelly denied his 400th club appearance on the last game of the 2001/2 season by our manager and puppet Glenn Roeder, before he was offloaded to Dagenham & Redbridge. Best of luck Pottsy for the future.
Paul Eastwood, Derbys.

I just cannot understand why Paula Radcliffe doesn't even warrant a mention

Claire , Long Eaton

In reply to Andy's comments, I share your feelings that Paula Radcliffe has had an amazing year. But I would question whether she deserves a knighthood just yet, she has so much more to achieve.

I don't know what point you are making about the system being male dominated either? Sir Steve Redgrave got his knighthood after five successive gold medals, but other great male athletes (Colin Jackson, Jonathan Edwards, Linford Christie, Steve Backley etc) have yet to be knighted so I wouldnt say its a question of sex.
Steve, England

If I had to award one to anybody it would be Martin O'Neill for his playing career at Nottm Forest, his captaincy of Northern Ireland and his fantastic achievements at Celtic.
Martin Banns, England (Scottish)

Whilst I applaud all those honoured, I feel I must add a comment about Paula Radcliffe, agreeing with Andy from Leeds' comments.

She has achieved so much this year and promises to do so next year; I just cannot understand why she doesn't even warrant a mention. She makes me proud to be British, it's a pity there aren't more around like her - so determined.
Claire , Long Eaton, England

Hugh "No handball on the line" Dallas? I know the Windsors originally come from Germany, but this is a slap in the face to Americans.
Anthony, USA

The honours lists have always been riddled with politically correct awards, but since the advent of Blair they've also become blatantly unfair. George Digweed has won 11 World and six European titles for his country in the worlds second largest participant sport, Clay shooting.

Murray Walker deserves to be knighted as he has given his whole life to motorsport

Karen Ford, England

Despite being nominated at least four times for honours, he has been blatantly overlooked yet again. Let's face it, our country is riddled with mediocre sports people getting awards for losing well.
Allan Flight, England

Congratulations to all who have recieved their awards, but I do feel that there are some extremely important and deserving people who have not been recognised. Murray Walker has given his whole life to motorsport and is, arguably, the most recognised 'name' in motorsport.

Jackie Stewart was rightly knighted but surely Murray is just as deserving, after all he has been around a lot longer. Also, where is Paula Radcliffe's recognition? She must have done more for women's athletics than any other woman this year.
Karen Ford, England

What about awards for Gary Connolly or Andy Farrell? If Wilkinson can get such recognition for kicking goals then surely Farrell and Connolly should get greater recognition for being two of rugby league's great modern players.

They are two players who have achieved more within their sporting field than Wilkinson could ever dream of.
Michael Wheeler, England

Sir Big Ron Atkinson.... for his services to comedy.
Andrew Higgins, Scotland

How about Mark Hughes? If Sven had achieved with England what Hughesie has done with Wales he would have a knighthood. If Wales get to Portugal 2004 surely he deserves one.
Gareth Davies, Wales

Jonny Wilkinson? He has done nothing. He is England's top points scorer, fine. That is a good achievement for such a young person.

But if that earns him an MBE at the age of 23 then why isn't Neil Jenkins sat in the House of Lords by now? A serious misjudgment. Otherwise it's a respectable sports list, though I think that Bill McLaren should have been given a knighthood.
Nathan Hamer, Wales

Niall Quinn deserved an award for giving away his 1m testimonial money to local charities in Sunderland and Ireland

Gary Ellwood, UK

Well done Kelvin Tatum; a great ambassador for speedway and a multi-world long track champion. Kelvin is now showing new skills as a commentator on Sky Sports. Is there no end to this man's talents?
Steve Shovlar, UK

Niall Quinn deserved an award for giving away his 1m testimonial money to local charities in Sunderland and Ireland. Can't understand why he was not awarded an honour.
Gary Ellwood, UK

My vote would go to Jane Tomlinson, the lady suffering from breast cancer who completed the London Marathon and the Great North Run in 2002. This woman is an inspiration and I was so pleased to see her recognised with the Helen Rollason award at this year's Sports Review.
Steve, England

Okay, I know this judgement is a little biased from an Arsenal fan, but I would vote for David Seaman as one of my stars of 2002.

Talk all you want about that fluke at Shizuoka and another one at St Mary's, but he did win the double with Arsenal and played a great role in helping England do better than expected at the World Cup. In fact, we improved our position from France 98!

Also, which cricket fan can forget Michael Vaughan's heroics? Lennox Lewis also gets my vote for beating Mike Tyson, cementing his status as one of the all-time greatest heavyweights. A perfect gentleman to boot.

Once again the sport of rugby league has been overlooked

Matt, England

And my fourth choice would probably be Colin Jackson. He's still one of the best hurdlers in the world after all these years!
Mani Thangadurai, India

The athlete of the year by far is David Beckham. What he has done on and off the field is a great example for youngsters.

Like the way he captained the national team, the way he tried his utmost for the two little girls and what he does for charities. He's my sporting hero of 2002.
Bap J Karreman, Netherlands

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Torrance thoroughly deserved the OBE. When the scores were tied before the singles, nobody in the world believed that Europe would win it, myself included.

Being an ardent fan of Tiger Woods and at the same hating to see Europe lose again, I was in two minds. Then came the greatest tactician Torrance, whom until then I could not believe was capable of such wonderful tactics.
Ibrahim Bakri Ahmad, Malaysia

Jonny Wilkinson thoroughly deserves this MBE. He is already a legend, one of the few living legends. Achieving so much in such a short space of time is something one can only dream of.

His modesty is such an important quality, as well as his quest for perfection. The quiet determination makes him a perfect role model.
George Schooling, UK

What? No Alan Shearer?. He did brilliant at Newcastle. He deserves an MBE or OBE.
Dazza, UK

I would like to congratulate all those honoured in the list but I always look through the list with hope of one day finding a rugby league player/representative honoured.

Yet again nobody has done enough to warrant such an honour - we really are a minority sport and until the RL powers-that-be do something about this, lists for years to come will be bereft of RL representation.
Matt, England

If Bill Nicholson had managed Man Utd he would have been knighted years ago

Gary, Leeds

Can`t believe that Bill Nicholson as been overlooked again. The man's been at Tottenham since 1936. If that ain`t service to football, then what is? The man's an absolute legend.
Terry Naylor, UK

When "normal" people receive these honours surely it would reflect a little more on modern day society if they were allowed to live "Tax Free" for a year. That would be the icing on the cake for a lot of worthy people.
Jim Vidler, UK

Can someone please tell me what on earth Bill Nicholson has done wrong? The guy is an absolute legend and year after year he gets ignored for a knighthood.

He's done far more in the game than Alex Ferguson and Bobby Robson put together, yet every year he gets overlooked. This is more like a popularity contest then a genuine recognition of who has done enough to win an award.

If Bill Nicholson had managed Man Utd he would have been knighted years and years ago. It's already too late, but knight him now.
Gary, Leeds, England

Firstly I would like to congratulate Sam Torrance on his OBE and to say the Ryder Cup in 2002 was well worth the wait. The tension and atmosphere throughout the tournament was amazing.

Sam was a gentleman throughout and along with Curtis Strange acted with total control and sportsmanship. Here's to 2003 and England winning the cricket and rugby World Cups!
Nick Godfrey, England

I feel that it is time for a radical shake up of the Honours system. Any male Olympian or sportsman who has a good year seems to earn a knighthood. Where is the women's equivalent?

Paula Radcliffe should be knighted; her merits are numerous yet this male-dominated system does not recognise fully her achievements. Come on people. Speak out about this.
Andy, Leeds, England

Well done Jonny, you very much deserved this, not just for this year but for your whole career. I have no doubt in my mind that you will go on to be the record point scorer in international rugby union and then you will go on to get a knighthood.

Steve Backley has massively deserved this award, and let's hope he can go on to get that gold medal at the Olympics.
Phil Lloyd-Bushell, England

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