Athletics Weekly - - Talking Point -

WITH Andy Mur­ray be­low his best in 2017, there is sure to be a new win­ner of the tro­phy. Ath­let­ics has been the dom­i­nant sport over the last 60 years with 17 wins and the next best is mo­tor rac­ing with seven. Ath­let­ics boasts 49 top three plac­ings with foot­ball

(20) the next best.

No ath­letes have won though since Kelly Holmes tri­umphed in 2004, though Jes­sica En­nis-Hill was in the top three four times.

Mo Farah has only been third once and that was way back in 2011.

The boxer Anthony Joshua is odds-on favourite and Farah is vy­ing for sec­ond favourite with foot­baller Jer­maine De­foe and cy­clist Chris Froome, who has boosted his chances with a win in the Vuelta com­plet­ing a unique tour dou­ble.

It’s worth not­ing that some ath­letes such as Bren­dan Fos­ter in 1974 and Steve Ovett in 1978 won the award pri­mar­ily on win­ning Euro­pean ti­tles and Farah has won more global ti­tles than the other SPOTY world cham­pi­onship win­ners – Steve Cram, Da­ley Thomp­son, Lin­ford Christie, Fa­tima Whit­bread, Jonathan Ed­wards, Liz McCol­gan and Paula Rad­cliffe put to­gether.

Who would have thought 20 years ago that a Bri­tish run­ner could win 10 global ti­tles and not win the award. The fail­ure of Chris Froome to win – a four-time Tour de France win­ner – would also be un­think­able and last year, he did not even make the short list.

It may be a fac­tor that Froome was not born in the UK, lives abroad, does not com­pete in Bri­tain, and is part of a con­tro­ver­sial team. Some of those ac­cu­sa­tions have also been lev­elled at Farah and while he com­petes in the UK (and un­like Froome he came through the Bri­tish sys­tem), the Bri­tish ath­let­ics sup­port­ers love Farah.

He is not al­ways pop­u­lar among some sec­tions of the me­dia and a lot of grass­roots ath­letes would prob­a­bly pre­fer he had put aside fi­nan­cial rea­sons and run more Na­tion­als and Na­tional road re­lays and less of the pre­dictable Birm­ing­ham-type events where a win was ob­vi­ous as soon as the field was an­nounced.

A Lon­don Marathon win might tip the bal­ance in fu­ture years though.

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