Shortlist for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008 announced
The shortlist for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008 has today been announced, with six contenders nominated for the prestigious award.
The nominees are Joe Calzaghe, Nicole Cooke, Tom James, David Roberts, Geraint Thomas and Shane Williams.
The title will be decided by viewers' votes with the winner announced in front of some of the biggest names in Welsh sport at a prestigious ceremony to be held at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff and broadcast on BBC Two Wales/2W and BBC Radio Wales on Sunday 7 December.
The awards ceremony will be presented by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Jason Mohammad.
Alongside the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year the awards ceremony will also honour the Team of the Year, Sports Unsung Hero, Junior Sportsman, Junior Sportswoman and Lifetime Achievement.
Joe Calzaghe, with an unbeaten professional boxing record of 46 wins under his belt, is the undisputed super-middleweight champion of the world.
In April this year he stepped up to light heavyweight for his showdown with Bernard Hopkins and his first fight on American soil, battling back from hitting the canvas in the first round to gain a points victory in Las Vegas.
He kept up his unbeaten record with a points victory over Roy Jones Jr in New York last month.
Joe's achievements were recognised across the UK last year when he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2007 a week after winning the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2007 title.
Olympic gold medal winning cyclist and World Road Race champion Nicole Cooke inspired the greatest British Olympic gold rush for 100 years and her road race victory was the first GB gold of the games and the first Welsh gold for 36 years.
Rower Tom James from Wrexham was picked to race in the flagship boat at the Olympics in Beijing – the men's four and the crew breezed through the heats, eventually going on to win gold.
Swimmer David Roberts from Pontypridd is one of Wales' biggest Paralympic successes, having won gold at three successive games and equalling Tanni Grey-Thompson's 11 Paralympic gold medal record this year.
At the Beijing games he broke his own Paralympic record for the second time in a day to win his third consecutive gold in the men's 100m freestyle.
He followed that with a second gold as part of the four-man GB team which won the men's 100m freestyle relay, eventually finishing with a tally of four golds.
Cyclist Geraint Thomas from Cardiff was a member of the Great Britain pursuit squad who successfully defended their title as track cycling World Champions in Manchester in March and the same team went on to Olympic glory in Beijing.
The Great Britain pursuit squad broke the world record in the Olympic heats, beating their Russian opponents comfortably to go through to the final ride-off for silver and gold.
The following day, on their way to winning the gold medal, the British Team pursuit broke their own world record time.
Shane Williams, the Swansea-born inspirational Wales and Ospreys winger, was named IRB World Player of the Year last month, crowning a year in which Williams was a key member of Wales's Grand Slam winning national team; and he also helped take the Ospreys to victory in the EDF Energy Cup.
Williams scored decisive tries in four of Wales's five Six Nations wins and his score in the Grand Slam decider against France was the 41st try of his international career, breaking Gareth Thomas's all-time Welsh try record.
Dame Tanni-Grey Thompson, who has been crowned BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times (1992, 2000 and 2004), says: "It has been just such a good year for Welsh sport and it really is one of those years when it's going to be really difficult to guess who will win.
"Most years you can pretty much guess who will be the main winner, but this year it's going to be quite tight. I'm just glad I'm not deciding who wins."
Further details on how to vote for your BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year can be found here bbc.co.uk/sportwales or bbc.co.uk/chwaraeon.
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008, Sunday 7 December, BBC Two Wales/2W, 9.00pm
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008, Sunday, 7 December, BBC Radio Wales, 7.00pm and 9.00pm