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Young Sports Personality: The top three

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Sheffield Arena Date: Sunday, 13 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.

Jake Humphrey on Young Personality

Jake Humphrey on the panel's decision

Tom Daley, Heather Watson and Jodie Williams have been selected from a shortlist of 10 to go forward to the final battle for the 2009 Young Sports Personality of the Year title.

2008 Eleanor Simmonds
2007 Tom Daley
2006 Theo Walcott
2005 Harry Aikines-Aryeetey
2004 Andrew Murray
2003 Kate Haywood
2002 Wayne Rooney
2001 Amy Spencer

The trio, made up of world diving champion Daley, girls junior US Open winner Watson and double world youth sprint gold medallist Williams, were chosen by a panel chaired by BBC Sport presenter John Inverdale on Monday 23 November.

The panel also included BBC Sport host Jake Humphrey, Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, Sportsround's Ore Oduba, previous Young Sports Personality of the Year winners Kate Haywood and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and representatives of the Youth Sport Trust.

"It was extremely difficult to whittle the list down to three but the trio we have selected are fantastic," said Jake, who will be co-hosting this year's Sports Personality spectacular.

"It is incredible to think an overall winner will be picked from Tom, Heather and Jodie, who have conquered all on the world stage."

Helen Skelton on Young Personality top three

Helen Skelton on the top three

Blue Peter's Helen added: "I didn't want to make a top three out of the 10, I wanted to have a top five.

"It just goes to show how many good candidates there were this year."

The accolade, which is awarded by the BBC in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, will be handed to the winner at the Sports Personality of the Year event in Sheffield on 13 December.

Below are profiles of each of the trio (in alphabetical order) with an explanation from Jake Humphrey as to why each deserves to be on the final list.

For full terms and conditions, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

The top three

Tom Daley
Tom Daley, 15

After competing at last year's Olympics in Beijing at only 14 years old, the incredible diving career of the schoolboy from Plymouth just keeps on reaching new heights.

Daley, the 2007 Young Sports Personality of the Year, produced a stunning final dive to win a shock gold at his first World Championships this summer.

The dive in Rome made Daley Britain's youngest world champion in any sport and a national treasure.

Jake says:

Tom was one of the stand-out candidates in the 10. He has been a consistent high achiever and, frankly, to become a world champion at the age of 15, a year after the Olympics, was sensational. He has won the Young Personality title before and he can certainly do it again.

Tom's highlight:
Daley wins historic World title

Heather Watson
Heather Watson, 17

Inspired by Laura Robson who became junior Wimbledon champion in 2008, Heather Watson has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight to take her own Grand Slam title.

In September, she became the first Briton to win the US Open girls tournament as, despite being seeded 11th, she dominated the final beating Russian opponent Yana Buchina in two sets.

Earlier in the year she took her first senior title at the Frinton Open, overtaking Laura Robson as the highest ranked British junior at third in the world junior rankings.

Jake says:

We're short of tennis superstars in Britain but following on from Andy Murray and Laura Robson I think the nation may have found another one in Heather. Heather has broken new ground and her win at the US Open was remarkable. A future British Grand Slam champion?

Heather's highlight:
Watson wins US Open girls' title

Jodie Williams
Jodie Williams, 16

Described as a "teen sensation" by UK Athletics, Jodie Williams is a ray of hope for British sprinting.

In July, she became the first girl to win both the 100m and 200m titles at the IAAF World Youth Championships, the same feat achieved by 2005 YSPOTY winner Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

Her 100m winning time of 11.39 seconds made her the fastest female in the country at that point and put her third in the UK senior rankings.

Jake says:

I think this is a teenager who could go all the way in world athletics. Jodie matched what Usain Bolt achieved at the senior world championships by winning both sprints in the youth equivalent - and she's a Brit! I think she could match Bolt again by going all the way at a future Olympic Games.

Jodie's highlight:
GB's Williams secures youth gold

Terms and conditions

This will be awarded to the outstanding young sportsperson aged 16 or under on 1 January 2009, selected from nominations made to the BBC and by sports governing bodies via the Youth Sport Trust.

People are eligible to win the award if they are the right age AND they are British, OR if they meet all three of the following criteria:

- They play a significant amount of their sport in the UK

- Their core achievements that year were achieved in the UK, and not with a national team

- They are residents in the UK

The closing date for nominations was Monday 2 November 2009.

Chaired by BBC Sport's John Inverdale; Jake Humphrey (BBC Sport); Helen Skelton (Blue Peter presenter); Ore Oduba (Sportsround presenter); Previous Young Sports Personality of the Year winners Kate Haywood and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey; two representatives from BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and two representatives from the Youth Sport Trust.

The panel met to choose the top 10 contenders on Monday 9 November 2009 from the list of nominations collected by the Youth Sport Trust and the BBC.

The panel reconvened on Monday 23 November 2009 to select the top three and the winner from the top 10 list. The top three and the winner were selected by secret ballot.

The top three will be invited to the live event and the other seven contenders will be notified out of courtesy that they have not made the final shortlist.

The winner will be announced live on the Sports Personality of the Year show and the website on Sunday 13 December 2009.

Sun 13 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
2009 BBC Young Sports Personality: The top 10
10 Nov 09 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality presenters
21 Oct 09 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality roll of honour
22 Dec 10 |  Sports Personality
Simmonds wins Young Sports Personality award
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
BBC Sports Unsung Hero 2009
12 Aug 10 |  Sports Personality
Sue Barker on the spot in Sheffield
05 Nov 09 |  Sports Personality

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