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Mark Cavendish Is Named BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2011, Darren Clark Is Runner-Up

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Mark Cavendish has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011
Mark Cavendish has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011

No surprises at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event tonight, with World Champion Cyclist Mark Cavendish taking home the coveted award.

Cavendish, who became the first ever Briton to win the fabled green sprinter's jersey during this summer's Tour de France, is the first British World Champion in his sport since Tom Simpson in 1965, the same year that Simpson won the Sports Personality award.

Runner-up was golfer Darren Clarke, who captured the nation's hearts winning the Open at Royal St Georges this year, five years after losing his wife to cancer, and bringing up his two sons.

Third place went to middle-distance runner Mo Farah, for his spirited conquest of the World Championships, taking gold in the 5,000 metres and silver in his more favoured 10,000 metres.

The England cricket team had a splendid night, winning the trophy for Best Team of the Year. Their coach Andy Flower, who led them to victory in the Ashes and to their current status as the world's number one test team, was also recognised as Coach of the Year.

Overseas Personality went to popular tennis player Novak Djokovic, and Young Personality of the Year was golfer Lauren Taylor. Taylor was one of three women nominated for this prize, which could mean that the shortlist for the main award in five years' time could look very different from the all-male affair that raised so many eyebrows this year.

The Helen Rollason Award - for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity, in memory of the BBC Sports presenter who died 12 years ago - went to Bob Champion, the inspiring jockey who overcame cancer himself to win the 1981 Grand National on his horse Aldaniti - a story that made it to the big screen soon after.

Champion himself said he was inspired to be presented with the award by last year's overall winner A P McCoy.

Two extremely well-received winners on the night were the Unsung Heroes - Janice Eaglesham and Ian Mirfin of the Red Star Athletic Club in Glasgow who, as club administrators have helped support 150 athletes since 1990.

And the least controversial winner of all was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sir Steve Redgrave, as well as being a rowing colossus, was presented with his award by HRH Princess Royal. The princess, a previous Sports Personality herself, also pointed out his ongoing dedication to sport and supporting the Olympic bid for London, and to whom she accredited much of the bid's ultimate success.

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