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SJA awards: Lawrence Booth wins scoop of the year for Kevin Pietersen texts

Sportsmail's Booth wins scoop of the year at SJA awards for revealing Pietersen texts


22:41 GMT, 25 March 2013



08:10 GMT, 26 March 2013

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth picked up a prestigious gong at this year's Sports Journalists' Association awards.

Our cricket reporter – who is also the editor of Wisden – led the way with his brilliant story about Kevin Pietersen's text-message scandal last summer.

This was recognised as the scoop of the year at the awards night in London on Monday night.


Neil Ashton

Recognition: Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth (left) won the scoop of the year and Neil Ashton (right), Jeff Powell (bottom left) and Jonathan McEvoy (bottom right) were highly commended in their categories


Jonathan McEvoy

Pietersen was revealed to have sent text
messages to members of the South African dressing room about his then
captain Andrew Strauss – later described by Pietersen himself as
'provocative' – which caused an almighty schism in the team's dressing

The scandal led to England's star
batsman being exiled from the squad for the rest of the Test series
defeat against the Proteas. It was also the final straw for Strauss, who
resigned the England captaincy soon after and retired from all cricket.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail's football news correspondent Neil Ashton was highly commended in the specialist correspondent category at the awards, while Jonathan McEvoy was highly commended as a sports news reporter. Boxing correspondent Jeff Powell was highly commended in the feature writer award.

The Mail on Sunday also picked up two prestigious awards, with Patrick Collins named as the columnist of year, while Martha Kelner won the young sports writer award.

Read Lawrence Booth's scoop of the year and his latest Top Spin column
EXCLUSIVE: KP text alert! Pietersen sent messages to opposition during Test

CLICK HERE to read the full award-winning story

The Top Spin: It's the end of an era as throwback Blackwell calls it a day (and ensures he will be a permanent one-cap wonder)

CLICK HERE to read the full column

And don't forget to read Lawrence Booth's latest Top Spin column on Tuesday morning at www.dailymail.co.uk/sport

When they were young…the 12 heroes who made us feel proud in 2012

When they were young: The 12 heroes who made us feel proud in 2012


23:56 GMT, 15 December 2012



00:27 GMT, 16 December 2012

Tonight the BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be announced to an audience expected to top 15 million viewers.

And in a year of extraordinary sporting achievement, at London 2012 and beyond, the final 12 contenders represent the cream of British sport.

NICK HARRIS and MARTHA KELNER talked to the people who know them best to find out what they were like … when they were young.


Age: 36

Nominated: For winning two gold medals at London 2012, in the team sprint and keirin, to become the British sportsman with the most Olympic gold medals in history (six), overtaking Sir Steve Redgrave’s five.

Chris Hoy

Future knight: A young Chris Hoy shows off one of his first prizes

Parents: David and Carol. Mum Carol says: ‘I am just as proud of the way Chris conducts himself when he loses, when things don’t go to plan or an opponent comes up with a moment of brilliance.

'Chris is able to handle winning and losing equally and I value that in life.

'When I hear Chris described as a true “Olympian”, that means more to me than all of the medals and honours.

Great Britain's Chris Hoy celebrates winning Gold in the Mens Team Sprint Final

Olympic glory: Hoy celebrates winning Gold in the men's team sprint final. He also won the keirin

'He was brought up simply to do things as well as possible and treat other people properly, whatever the circumstances.’

Plans for future: ‘I’m definitely not going to Rio,’ says Hoy. ‘Nothing will top London.’ He hopes to cap his career on a high at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.


Age: 18

Nominated: For winning gold in the 400m freestyle, one of the most thrilling swimming races of the summer, and another gold in the 200m individual medley to add to her two Paralympic titles won at Beijing in 2008.

Parents: Steve and Val. ‘It sometimes gets a bit surreal, you have to give yourself a pinch,’ says Val of the moment she saw her teenage daughter collecting her fourth Paralympic gold medal.

Ellie Simmonds Age 7


Golden girl: Ellie Simonds' infectious smile was there to see at the age of seven. She went on to pick up two golds in 2012 with the 400m freestyle final considered to be one of the most exciting races of the Games

She remembers having to say goodbye when Ellie went away before Beijing for a month’s training camp in South Africa.

‘She was only 12, my little baby, but she’s very mature and loved it.’

If Ellie does not win Sports Personality, Val is backing Mo Farah.

‘I’m a keen athletics fan and used to watch it all the time before swimming took over our lives,’ she says.

Plans for the future: ‘She certainly has plenty more years to carry on swimming and get on the Sports Personality list again,’ says Val.


Age: 33

Nominated: For winning three wheelchair racing gold medals on the track this summer, before topping it by becoming road race champion, the final gold of the Games and his sixth Paralympic medal in total. He has also won the London marathon six times.

Parents: Jackie and David, a former soldier from Belfast, brought up David, who was born with a severing of the spinal cord, in a similar way to his three brothers.

Britain's David Weir

David Weir age 11.

Triple gold: David Weir aged 11 (right) and in action during this summer celebrated his success with his mum in a quiet pub

‘I never mollycoddled them,’ says Jackie.

‘We brought him up to expect taunts and told him not to worry because all kids get them, don’t they’ David would join in with everything.

‘When his mates had a kickaround, David would go in goal and use his sticks to save the ball,’ says Jackie.

He celebrated winning his fourth gold in London by having a quiet drink with his mum in their local pub in Richmond.

Plans for the future: He is not thinking about defending his titles in Rio in 2016 yet but the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are on the agenda.


Age: 35

Nominated: For winning a fourth Olympic gold this summer to confirm his status as the world’s greatest ever sailor.

Parents: Roddy and Susan. Roddy was a renowned sea captain and Ben was bred for maritime glory, given his first taste of sailing on a family holiday to Cornwall when he was eight.

Ben Ainslie

Britain's Ben Ainslie

Incredible career: Ben Ainslie has announced his Olympic retirement admitting he will never beat the buzz of Weymouth

/12/16/article-2248817-145DA7F8000005DC-915_306x454.jpg” width=”306″ height=”454″ alt=”Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008″ class=”blkBorder” />

Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008

Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and in her youth (right)

They knew how upset I was when we didn’t win gold at Beijing. All a parent wants is for their child to be happy, and seeing me so unhappy was very difficult for them.’

Plans for future: Says she remains undecided whether to attempt to win a fifth Olympic medal and second gold in Rio.

‘I’m certainly not burning my bridges and deciding that I won’t be at the next Olympics. I’m looking forward to getting back in a boat in 2013 and making a fresh start.’


Age: 25

Nominated: For becoming the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam singles title (the US Open), having just won Olympic singles gold at Wimbledon, just a few weeks after losing on the same court against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon men’s singles final. Also won Olympic doubles silver.

ANDREW MURRAY TENNIS PLAYER FROM DUNBLANE. ANDREW IS PICTURED HERE AGED 8. Andrew Murray pictured during his first round Boys' Singles victory over Mykyta Kryvonos at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis

Andy Murray

Emotional year: After bursting into tears at Wimbledon, Andy Murray went on to grab gold in London 2012 before picking up his first grand slam

Parents: Judy and Will. Judy has been a consistent presence at courtside throughout his career after both parents, despite their divorce, helped him in his early years, funding his attendance at a Barcelona academy.

‘Both of my parents made a lot of sacrifices to give me and [brother] Jamie the opportunity to play tennis,’ he says.

Plans for future: Will certainly want to defend his Olympic crown in Rio in 2016 if fit and healthy but the demands of the singles circuit — and four Slams each year — will take precedence before then, starting with the Australian Open early in 2013.


Age: 32

Nominated: For becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France and for winning the time trial gold medal at London 2012.

Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins aged 2 on his first ever bike

Road racer: A two-year-old Bradley Wiggins on his first ever bike

Parents: Linda and Gary. His father was an Australian cyclist who drank heavily, was violent to Linda and who abandoned the family when Wiggins was two.

Linda supported her son’s fledgling career, taking him to Paris to see the Tour when he was 13.

When he won, he pointed to Linda and said: ‘Some dreams do come true. My old mum over there

Her son has just won the Tour de France!’

Bradley Wiggins

Hot favourite: Wiggins is the bookie's favourite to scoop Sports Personality of the Year after winning Olympic gold as well as the Tour de France

Plans for future: Wiggins has said he wants to return to track cycling for the 2016 Games in Rio. Whether he goes for another Tour de France triumph depends on whether Team Sky pick him or Chris Froome as their No 1.


Age: 30

Nominated: For becoming the first-ever female Olympic boxing champion, a feat she celebrated with a chicken wrap at Nando’s.

Nicola Adams

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams aged three.

Record breaker: Nicola Adams became the ever female boxing champion this summer

Parents: Mother Dee and father Innocent split up when Nicola was a child. When Dee could not get a babysitter, she took Nicola and brother Kurtis to an aerobics class.

Nicola, who had watched videos of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier with her dad, joined in with a boxing class instead.

‘It has been really tough for Nicola being a female boxer,’ says Dee. ‘I thought, “She’s doing this for her country and she isn’t getting the recognition she deserves”. But now she has made history. It is amazing. I am just so proud of her.’

Plans for the future: Back in training with TeamGB boxers in Sheffield. Next up are the European Championships, then the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where women’s boxing is debuting. Plans to defend her Olympic title in Rio.


Age: 26

Nominated for: Coping with the pressure of being the face of the Games and dominating the Olympic heptathlon, before sealing victory in the 800m.

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis - aged 4

Super Saturday: Ennis played a huge role in one of the greatest nights of sport this country has ever seen

Parents: Vinnie and Alison took Jessica and younger sister Carmel to an athletics summer camp when she was 10.

‘I think they just wanted to get rid of me for a bit,’ jokes Jessica. But while Carmel did not like running, Jess thrived.

‘She always wanted to stand on the top of a podium and I’m just so proud of her,’ says Vinnie.

‘After all those years of going to low-key meetings when she was little with the rain and the snow and the early mornings, it has all come together and it’s just brilliant.’

Plans for the future: A spring wedding to childhood sweetheart Andy Hill means a delayed start to the 2013 outdoor season. Has not ruled out defending her heptathlon title in Rio but may switch to the hurdles.


Age: 23

Nominated: For winning his second major and being part of Europe’s winning Ryder Cup team.

Parents: Father Gerry McIlroy worked 100 hours a week and mother Rosie did night shifts at a factory in their native Holywood, in Northern Ireland, to save to send Rory to competitions in the US as a junior.

Rory McIlroy on his local golf course aged nine

Rory McIlroy f

In form: Rory McIlroy bagged his second major while playing his part in a hugely emotional Ryder Cup

It has paid off already but there could be a further 200,000 windfall for Gerry and three friends, who bet 400 at 500-1 that the then 15-year-old would win The Open before 2014.

‘It’s ridiculous really, isn’t it’ says Gerry. ‘You realise you can make more money on the golf tour in one week than some people make in a lifetime.’

Plans for the future: Greg Norman believes Rory McIlroy is more likely to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins than Tiger Woods. Golf will feature at Rio 2016, so McIlroy could add Olympic gold to his impressive medal cabinet.


Age: 35

Nominated: For winning four cycling gold medals in the Paralympics, including Britain’s first gold of those Games in the Velodrome, having narrowly missed selection to compete for Team GB at the Olympics.

Sarah Storey

 Sarah Storey

Ruling the roads: Storey picked up a phenomenal four gold medals at the Paralympics

Parents: John and Mary Bailey, who wore T-shirts at the Games listing every gold medal their daughter had ever won in swimming and cycling, as well as being ‘the Under-14s Cheshire table tennis champion’.

Storey was born without a functioning left hand and was bullied at school.

‘When I was at my lowest, my parents told me to keep looking to the future, that everything would be all right,’ she says. ‘It was the best lesson anyone could have taught me.’

Plans for future: Says that defending her four Paralympic titles at Rio 2016 would be ‘the ultimate dream’.


Age: 29

Nominated: For winning a historic Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m distance double in London and making the Mo-bot his trademark.

Parents: Father Muktar left Somalia as a young man to settle in London and met Mo’s mother, Amran, during a holiday in his homeland.

Mo Farah

Mo Farah,14

Party time: Mo Farah (aged 14 – right) created one of the most iconic images of London 2012

They married and brought Mo to London as an eight-year-old for the opportunity of a more prosperous life after weighing up the cost of parting him from his twin brother, Hassan, and two older brothers who remained in Somalia.

When Mo arrived at Feltham Community College as an 11-year-old he was barely able to speak English.

‘I was giving a javelin lesson and trying to instill some discipline into the boys,’ says PE teacher, Alan Watkinson.

‘I walked on to the field and Mo was swinging on the crossbar.’ Mo went the wrong way round the athletics track the first time he ran — but soon found his direction.

Plans for the future: Could run the marathon as well as the 10,000m at Rio in 2016, but that would be a tough challenge.

Six months after breaking his neck, Tim Stockdale has his sights on a showjumping place at the Olympics

Six months after breaking his neck, Tim Stockdale has his sights on a showjumping place at the Olympics

Martha Kelner


18:54 GMT, 28 April 2012



21:00 GMT, 28 April 2012

Tim Stockdale faces the sternest test yet of his battle to make Britain’s showjumping team for this summer’s Olympics when he competes at next month’s Royal Windsor Horse Show just six months after breaking his neck.

With Britain’s showjumping performance director Rob Hoekstra watching closely, Stockdale, a 47- year-old Yorkshireman, must banish his suffocating fear that, after four decades in a sport he first took to at the age of seven, the London Games will come too soon for him.

Tim Stockdale and wife Laura at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. where he is recovering from a broken back suffered in a fall in Wales

Big recovery: Tim Stockdale at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital after breaking his back

‘I got someone to take a video of me riding recently because I didn’t quite feel right,’ said Stockdale, who fractured his neck in three places last October when he was thrown from a horse while out in the Welsh countryside.

‘I was embarrassed at how bad I looked. I thought: “I’m a million miles off going to the Olympic Games”. I felt utter despair about where I was.

‘Sometimes you feel like screaming. It’s big highs and trenches of deep gloom at the moment. ‘When my neck collar came off, there was brilliant elation. I decided to go on the cross-trainer to celebrate.

I used to do 30 minutes in the gym as a warm-up. But I did one minute and had to stop because I had nothing left to give.

'I wanted to pick the exercise machine up and throw it through the window.’ Despite a lengthy career, Stockdale did not make his Olympic debut until four years ago in Beijing.

He was barred from British Olympic selection in 2002 after his horse tested positive for a banned sedative, but the lifetime suspension was lifted two years later because the offence was deemed to have been ‘minor’.

STOCKDALE...Great Britan's Tim Stockdale rides on Parcival during the Nations Cup at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany, Friday, June 28, 2002

Happier times: Stockdale in action on Parcival during the Nations Cup at the World Equestrian Festival in 2002

He failed to win selection for the Athens Games but went to Beijing where he missed out on a medal in the team contest. Now he knows London is almost certainly his last chance to grasp Olympic glory — a point he was not slow to make to medical staff, even though at one point doctors doubted if he would ever walk, let alone ride, again.

‘As soon as I got to hospital after the accident, I said: “I just want you to know I’m intending to go to the Olympics this year. I went to the Olympics last time and I’m going this year”,’ he recalled.

‘They must have been thinking: “Hang on a minute, you might not walk again”. It’s a bit like your house has burned down and you’re worried whether you got that 25 out of the drawer.’

Stockdale’s recovery from the accident, which happened as he was testing a young horse in north Wales with a view to adding it to his stable of showjumpers, has been extraordinary. He was thrown head-first into a fence, causing severe injuries.


Top jumper: Stockdale in action at the British Masters Invitational at Chester Racecourse

After initial hospital treatment at
Shrewsbury, he spent almost six weeks immobilised at a specialist spinal
unit in Oswestry before returning to his home in Roade,
Northamptonshire, where he lives with his wife, Laura, and their two

He was back in the saddle far earlier
than he had dared to hope and now rides five horses a day — including
Fresh Direct Kalico Bay, the mount he hopes to take to the London
Olympics — and betrays no sign of weakness as he marches around his yard
in fine rain, wearing jodhpurs and riding boots and tracked dutifully
by his Border collie, Tip.

Britain's Tim Stockdale riding Fresh Direct Animation knocks down some of the wall in the Accenture Christmas Puissance during The London International Horse Show at Olympia in West London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday December 15, 2006.

Before the injury: Stockdale riding Fresh Direct Animation knocks down some of the wall in the Accenture Christmas Puissance in 2006

Hoekstra, who has the final say on which four riders will be picked to represent Team GB at the Olympics, has given Stockdale enough encouragement to believe that he might make the cut, with regular telephone calls to check on his progress. The first of four selection events is at La Baule, in France, in early May.

That will be too soon for Stockdale, who is focusing his attentions instead on Windsor, where he will ride on the Saturday of the four-day show, which starts on May 9.

He plans to be fit, though, for the other three selection events and hopes that his performances in them can clinch a place when the Olympic team is announced in July. Meanwhile, he is bullish about his chances of success at Windsor.

‘I believe I’m going to go there and win it,’ he said. ‘I really do. I’m 75 per cent recovered. By the time of Olympic selection, my neck will be like rock. I’ll be fine.’

Occasionally, Stockdale allows himself to think of how it would feel to be standing on the podium having won an Olympic medal in London. ‘To do it in your own backyard is once-in-a-lifetime stuff,’ he said.

But would it be even sweeter with the knowledge that less than a year before he faced paralysis ‘It definitely wouldn’t be any worse,’ he said, laughing.

‘But let’s not get too Mills and Boon here. It’s a great story, but there comes a point where I’ll be written about for other reasons.’

The Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place at Windsor Castle on May 9-13, including the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. For further information and tickets (10-20), go to www.rwhs.co.uk or call 08444 581 4960.