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24 September 2014
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26.11.03


WALES


Shortlist for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year announced


The shortlist for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year has been announced today (Wednesday 26 November), with six contenders nominated for the prestigious award.


This year's nominees are Mark Williams, Joe Calzaghe, Nicole Cooke, Hayley Tullett, John Hartson and Gareth Thomas.


For the second year running, the title will be decided by viewers' votes, following the success of last year's trial, with the winner announced at a ceremony at Broadcasting House, Cardiff, on 8 December.


Mark Williams, Joe Calzaghe and Nicole Cooke have been selected for the shortlist for the second year running, with boxer Calzaghe given the opportunity to become one of only three people to win the trophy twice, after being awarded the title in 2001.


All next week, BBC 2W's Sport Extra will be profiling the shortlist for the award. (1-5 December, BBC 2W, 9.40pm)


Cwm-born snooker player Mark Williams picked up a hat trick of titles in the same season as he beat Ken Doherty to win the UK Championship, Stephen Hendry for the B&H Masters title and picked up a second world crown, again at the expense of Doherty.


In returning to the number one spot, he became only the second player after Ray Reardon to regain his place at the top of the world rankings, thus confirming his status as one of snooker's greatest champions.


Joe Calzaghe, the WBO super-middleweight champion from Newbridge, has now defended his title 13 times since taking the belt from Chris Eubank in 1997, making him the longest reigning and most successful current British world champion.


He retained his title for the thirteenth time in a devastating match against two-time WBA champion Byron Mitchell.


Calzaghe came from behind to record the second round defeat, which leaves him just two successful title defences short of Eubank's British record of 15.


The world-beating teenage cyclist Nicole Cooke, from Wick, Vale of Glamorgan, has her eyes on the Olympics following World Cup series victory last August.


She secured the series at the Nürnberg meeting in Germany in August, making her the youngest ever winner of the Cup, and the first Briton to achieve the honour.


Her achievement was all the more remarkable after two heavy falls in May and June.


Swansea-born athlete Hayley Tullett was on the verge of quitting the sport if she performed badly at this year's World Athletics Championships.


Instead she scooped a bronze medal in the 1500 metres and also recorded a personal best of 3 minutes 59.95 seconds in the discipline.


Swansea-born football hero John Hartson played a crucial part in the Wales football squad this year.


Despite a disappointing end to their Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, the Celtic player gave consistently solid performances in the initial games, taking Wales to the top of their group.


He was also a key player in both Celtic's Uefa Cup and Scottish Premier League campaigns, despite falling to FC Porto and Rangers respectively at the final hurdle.


Bridgend rugby player Gareth Thomas has enjoyed a hugely successful season.


As well as leading club side Bridgend to their first Welsh Premiership title, he made a total of 11 appearances for the Welsh national side.


He took the role of vice captain for Wales during the World Cup, delivering a succession of excellent performances, particularly against New Zealand as Wales scored a record 37 points.


He has won a total of 72 caps for his country, playing as inside-centre, outside-centre, wing and full-back, and his haul of 32 tries leaves him just one short of Ieuan Evans' Wales record of 33.


Producer Geraint Rowlands sees the awards evening as an excellent chance to celebrate a year in Welsh sport.


"It's been an extremely interesting and competitive year for Welsh sport with many highs and lows.


"Many of our leading sports personalities have been at the forefront of the nation's success stories and it is therefore very timely that this year's winner will again be selected totally by the Welsh nation.


"We very much hope that the evening will reflect the very best of Welsh sporting achievement as well as being a momentous event in its own right."


Viewers can vote by telephone on 09013 32 32 30 (calls cost 10p) from today, but will also be able to text on the night on 07786 20 12 12 (standard network charges apply).


Digital satellite viewers will also be able to vote interactively on the night by pressing the red button while the programme is on air.


Wales's Best Team, Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman will also be named. There will be a special tribute to one person who has made a Lifetime Contribution to Welsh sport, and for the first time an Unsung Hero will be honoured.


Notes to Editors


Sparky takes top honour in public vote (14.01.03)



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Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.


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