A knight of the turf
TONY McCoy has been given a knighthood in the New Year Honours in recognition of his incredible racing career.
The 41-year-old from Moneyglass in County Antrim retired from racing in April after being crowned champion jockey for a 20th consecutive year.
He heads a list of high-profile sporting names to be honoured which also includes former Manchester United forward Denis Law, five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and John Surtees, the only man to win world championships on two and four wheels.
The success of England’s women’s footballers in finishing third at the World Cup in Canada in the summer has been recognised with MBEs for captain Steph Houghton and teammate Fara Williams.
Football Association director Heather Rabbatts - who became the FA’s first female board member in 2012 - has been made a Dame for services to football and equality. Sports broadcasters Sue Barker and Jacqui Oatley have been awarded an OBE and an MBE respectively.
McCoy’s knighthood comes at the end of a glittering racing career which saw him win every major prize in his sport, including a Grand National win at the 15th attempt on Don’t Push It in 2010. McCoy, who announced in February his intention to retire at the end of the National Hunt season, rode a total of 4,358 winners.
Law, who was a star of the Manchester United side of the 1960s and Scotland’s joint all-time national team top goalscorer, has been awarded a CBE, while a favourite son of the blue half of Manchester - Francis Lee - is also now a CBE. Lee won the league title with City in 1968 and later served as chairman of the club in the 1990s. He also played for England in the 1970 World Cup.
O’Sullivan, known as ‘the Rocket’ for his fast-paced approach to playing his sport, has been awarded an OBE. The 40-year-old has won snooker’s premier event on five occasions, most recently in 2013, and has also won the UK Championship and Masters titles five times each.
He has recorded 12 maximum 147 breaks during his career, the quickest being completed in five minutes and 20 seconds in 1997.
Froome has been made an OBE after he became the first Briton to win cycling’s premier road race the Tour de France on two occasions with his victory in July. British Cycling president Bob Howden has also been awarded an OBE.
Surtees has been awarded a CBE for services to motor sport. The 81-year-old won seven world motorcycling championships before switching to four wheels and winning the 1964 Formula One title.
Houghton, a centre-back for Manchester City, skippered the Lionesses at the World Cup in the summer having come to prominence as part of the Great Britain team at the 2012 London Olympics. Her England team-mate Williams, who scored in the World Cup semi-final defeat to Japan and got the only goal in the bronze medal match against Germany, joins Houghton in winning an MBE.
Rabbatts, who has campaigned on behalf of women in sport and recently spoke out in support of former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro in her dispute with the club, is awarded a damehood. Barker won the French Open tennis title in 1976 before moving into broadcasting with the BBC and now leads the corporation’s tennis coverage.
Oatley is a broadcaster who came to prominence with the BBC, where she became the first female commentator to appear on the corporation’s flagship football highlights programme Match of the Day in 2007. She also works for ITV, and as a director of the Women In Football group.
Tracey Neville, the coach of England’s women’s netball team, was awarded an MBE. She is the sister of former England football internationals Gary and Phil Neville.
Former England and Sale wing Mark Cueto and IBF super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton were also awarded MBEs.