MIRED in controversy over recent comments made by world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award saw Andy Murray sweep to an easy victory for the second time.
With 361,446 votes, Murray was the clear winner, and together with second-placed rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield on 278,353, the two dominated the polls.
Athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill came in third with 79,898 while boxer Tyson Fury claimed fourth spot with 72,330.
In a short speech Murray, who led Britain to Davis Cup glory and finished the tennis year as world No2, said “I didn’t expect this… a friend sent me an article saying ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’, which I thought was a bit harsh… to Worthing.’
The Scotsman also defended Manchester’s Fury, who stole media attention with his remarks on women and homosexuality, saying his win was “an incredible achievement”. “Not everyone obviously has to agree with what he said but I do believe that he has the right to say it. That’s freedom of speech and people have the right to disagree with what he says as well.”
Hundreds of campaigners picketed outside the ceremony in Belfast in protest at Fury’s inclusion on the list following his remarks, while 140,000 signed a petition demanding his exclusion.
A total of just over one million votes were cast with Mo Farah, Chris Froome and Lewis Hamilton making up the remaining bulk of the ballot.
In other awards:
Overseas Sports Personality of the Year: Dan Carter.
Young Sports Personality of the Year: Ellie Downie.
Coach of the Year: Michael O’Neill.
Lifetime Achievement: AP McCoy.
Helen Rollason: Bailey Matthews.
Sport’s Unsung Hero: Damien Lindsay.