Ben Stokes became the first cricketer to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award since Andrew Flintoff in 2005 when he was rewarded for his heroics in England’s memorable Cricket World Cup victory.
In a ceremony in Aberdeen on Sunday evening, the 28-year-old fulfilled his billing as the bookies’ favourites with Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton second and Team GB sprinting star Dina Asher-Smith third.
Later in the summer he also scored one of the greatest centuries in Test history in guiding England to an unlikely victory against Australia at Headingley.
Unlike Flintoff in 2005, Stokes’s brilliance wasn’t enough to inspire England to a series win in the Ashes but his mesmeric performances throughout the summer were rightly recognised by the public.
How Stokes reacted
In receiving his award, all-rounder Stokes paid tribute to his fellow nominees, his family and his England team-mates, who he will join later this week in South Africa ahead of the four-Test series.
“First of all, I think congratulations to all the nominees,” he said. “What you’ve managed to achieve as individuals and do for your sport is simply sensational, so well done to you too.
“There’s so many people you feel you have to thank when you’re up here. It’s an individual award, but I play a team sport and one of the great things about that is you get to share special moments with those team-mates, coaches and without that effort you put in, I wouldn’t be up here receiving this award so thank you so much.
“Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life and I’ve had so many people help me through that. My fantastic manager and friend Neil Fairbrother, you’re more than an agent, you’re an incredible man. I don’t know how you’ve put up with Andrew Flintoff and me, you and [Fairbrother’s wife] Audrey, you’re incredible people.
“My parents, they live on the other side of the world, they don’t get to share moments like this, the World Cup and be there with me, but the time you dedicated to me growing up, the selflessness to get me to training camps and around the country, this is for you. I love you so much, thank you.
“To my amazing wife, Clare. Family to me is more important than what I do for a living. It puts perspective on everything, after the good and bad days they are there for me no matter what. My two kids too, they are awesome I love you so much.
“Back to Clare, you’re a rock. You always have been. You always will be. I wish you could come here and share it with me, you deserve it just as much. I love you so much and I’m so proud to call you my wife. I’m guessing I should leave it there.”
England’s cricketers dominated the evening as they scooped the Team of the Year award, while Jos Buttler’s runout of Martin Guptill to win England the World Cup was voted the Greatest Sporting Moment.
The Young Sports Personality of the Year award went to 18-year-old boxer Caroline Dubois, the world and Olympic youth lightweight champion, who has just won her fourth European gold medal.
Eleven-time Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson received the Lifetime Achievement award. “It’s been an amazing journey to see where the Paralympic movement is today,” said Grey-Thompson. “For young people today we have to make sure they have an opportunity to get active and play sport.”
SPOTY 2019: all the winners
- Helen Rollason Award: Doddie Weir
- Young Sports Personality of the Year: Caroline Dubois
- Lifetime Achievement: Tanni Grey-Thompson
- Coach of the Year: John Blackie
- Team of the Year: England’s Cricket World Cup team
- World Sport Star: Eliud Kipchoge
- Greatest Sporting Moment: Jos Buttler breaks the stumps to seal Cricket World Cup victory
- Unsung Hero: Keiren Thompson
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