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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 21:55 GMT
Hughes scoops BBC award
BBC Wales Sports Personality winner Mark Hughes (right) with runner-up Nicole Cooke and third-placed Phillip Price
Hughes (right) was the overwhelming winner

Wales football manager Mark Hughes was named the BBC Wales Sports Personality of 2002 at a star-studded event in Cardiff on Monday.

Cyclist Nicole Cooke was the runner-up with golfer Phillip Price coming third for the second successive year.

For the first time in the award's 48-year history, the award was decided by a public vote - and Hughes emerged as the overwhelming winner.

Accepting the award, Hughes said: "It's been a great year for everybody involved in Welsh football.

"This individual award is further recognition of the achievements of the team.

"Not only the players, but the staff and everybody who goes to make up a successful team."

Cooke won the gold medal in the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester
Cooke celebrates winning gold in Manchester
The 39-year-old enjoyed a near faultless 12 months in charge of Wales, and had always been the favourite out of the eight shortlisted contenders.

Cooke's achievements in 2002 included winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. She also enjoyed a hugely successful debut season as a professional rider.

Price, who was also third in last year's award, produced the shock win of last year's Ryder Cup by beating world number two Phil Mickelson.

The Merit Award was awarded to former Glamorgan and England fast bowler Steve Watkin.

He retired at the end of the 2001 season after taking 1,211 first-class wickets.

Manic Street Preachers members James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire presented the award to Hughes at the ceremony in Cardiff's St David's Hall.

Hughes, who remarkably never won the award as a player, transformed the national side into a team of world beaters in 2002.

He guided them to a seven-match unbeaten run, which included memorable victories over Italy and Germany at the Millennium Stadium.

As a result, Wales moved from 100th place in the Fifa rankings to 52nd place - the biggest leap of all nations up the official world rankings during last 12 months.

Steve Watkin was awarded the Merit Award
Merit Award: Steve Watkin was a model professional
And three wins in their opening three Euro 2004 qualifying matches has put Wales five points clear in Group Nine.

Hughes is therefore strongly placed to become the first manager to lead Wales to the finals of a major international tournament since 1958.

Unsurprisingly, the Wales football team took the Team of the Year award for their remarkable run of results.

And their stunning 2-1 victory over Italy in October was voted as the most memorable event in the sporting calendar by the readers of the Welsh Mirror newspaper.

The Carwyn James Junior Awards - now in their 20th year - went to golfer Rhys Davies and yachtswoman Hannah Mills.

Davies, 19, was the runner-up at the British boys' championship in Carnoustie.

Mills, 14, finished ninth overall and the second girl at the world championships in Texas.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Winner Mark Hughes
"My award was more for the team"
 Runner-up Nicole Cooke
"It's amazing to know there are so many supporting me"
 Third-placed Phil Price
"It's always nice to be recognised"
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2002

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See also:

31 Dec 02 | Sports Talk
11 Jan 03 | Wales
31 Dec 02 | Wales
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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