4 Dec

Mo Respect Deserved From SPOTY

Mo Farah celebrates after another big race success

As the sporting year winds to a close, its traditional curtain closer comes into view. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards take place just before Christmas with a two hour special recognising the best in British sport over the last 12 months.

The event is not everyone’s cup of tea, some love the annual review of all things sporting, others cringe, bemoaning its naffness and cosy back-slapping.

Whichever way you view it, there is no doubt it is the ultimate sporting ceremony in the UK and the overall winner is widely acknowledged as that particular year’s top British sportsperson. The famous and unique silver television camera trophy has been held by such luminaries as Seb Coe, Ian Botham and Steve Redgrave.

But in recent years I have felt – and I am sure you do, dear reader – with my admitted bias towards running, that Mo Farah is consistently hard done by at the ceremony. For a man that has won 6 European, 6 World and 4 Olympic gold medals over the last eight sporting years in a truly global discipline, one third place finish at SPOTY, seems an unfair reflection.

Particularly when you consider that he has finished behind darts players, show jumpers, jockeys and golfers, none of whom can claim to be in professions which rival running in its sheer number of global participants.

I can accept that Mo might have been tainted in the eyes of the British public due to his coach Alberto Salazar, who has been alleged to have indulged in unethical performance enhancing practices. But that is still unfounded and only emerged in 2015, when Mo was already deep into his gold-laden career.

This year, he crowned his track career with a 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver in front of a rapturous London 2017 stadium, triumphed at the Great North Run for the fourth successive year and last month was rightly given a knighthood. This time round, his stiffest opposition probably comes from world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, but will Mo finally get the recognition he deserves from SPOTY?