Chef’s Special

Dec 11, 2018 by

Chef’s Special

SPOTY 2018 trading has been curtailed somewhat this year due to a change of format and the main shortlist only being revealed on the night of the show, starting at 7pm on Sunday evening on BBC1, live from Genting Arena in Birmingham.

All the indications have suggested it will be a shorter shortlist this year, maybe as few as 6. It is hard to imagine more than 8 names appearing when it is revealed, presumably at the start of the show.

Based on 2018 sporting achievement, all of Geraint Thomas, Harry Kane, Lewis Hamilton, Dina Asher-Smith and Lizzy Yarnold look virtual certs for the shortlist. After that it gets more complicated.

Regardless of winning four golds at the European Championships, breaking the 100m world record, and grabbing a further gold at the Commonwealth Games, Adam Peaty might well be snubbed. Anthony Joshua successfully defending his world heavyweight titles may not be enough for him to make the shortlist either.

Based on 2018 sporting achievement, all of Geraint Thomas, Harry Kane, Lewis Hamilton, Dina Asher-Smith and Lizzy Yarnold look virtual certs for the shortlist

Tyson Fury getting up off the canvas in the final round vs Wilder and earning a draw in a fight most believe he won, earned lots of recent headlines but again Fury looks more likely to be omitted from the shortlist mainly because he didn’t win.

To give Fury a place on the shortlist and not Joshua would make no sense but allowing both shortlist spots looks unfeasible on a shortened shortlist like this year’s.

Giving Fury recognition on its ‘Greatest Sporting Moments’ shortlist looks a clever way the Beeb is acknowledging Fury. The same probably applies to Alastair Cook (affectionately known as ‘Chef’) who makes the Greatest Moments shortlist of 5 for his final test innings hundred at the Oval, which might suggest he will miss out on the main shortlist as well.

We know the BBC likes to balance the genders and also get the less able-bodied represented on its SPOTY shortlists. This opens up the possibility of someone like Georgia Hall getting on the shortlist after her British Open golf win, or possibly even Helen Housby, who scored that last second winner in the Commonwealth Games women’s netball final.

F1 voters didn’t turn out in force last year when Hamilton was a no show on the night, and finished in 6th place on the vote

If there is a para-athlete shortlisted, Lauren Steadman has claims after winning para-triathlon gold at the ITU World Championships in September and her high profile may help her get the nod.

Lauren’s inclusion would make her a very lively top 3 contender given Jonnie Peacock managed 3rd last year and Lauren, like Jonnie, has just enjoyed 3 months primetime BBC exposure taking part in Strictly Come Dancing, making it all the way to the semi-final.

Some have been calling for Ronnie O’Sullivan’s inclusion after a record seventh UK Championship snooker title. It’s an event at least the BBC covers, giving hope for O’Sullivan backers, but we were led to believe the shortlist was decided last month with the committee reconvening and deciding to add Fury to the Greatest Moments shortlist earlier this month. A further reconvene to add Sullivan’s name to the main list remains unlikely.

It was noticeable the SPOTY 2018 preview show, presented by Jess Ennis, focused heavily on England’s achievement in making the World Cup semi-finals. It was bookended by her chatting with Gareth Southgate. With The Lightning Seeds and Baddiel and Skinner also set to perform ‘Three Lions’ live on Sunday night’s show, it is shaping up to be a big, feel-good night for the England football team’s achievement.

England Test cricket fans hold Cook in very high esteem for his outstanding achievements as a Test batsman

This focus on the England football team has seen Kane backed into favourite to win the main Award. Thomas will, however, enjoy a patriotic Welsh vote and we have seen the cycling fans come out in force and vote in the past for the likes of Bradley Wiggins.

We also know F1 fans can make a significant dent on the vote and Hamilton’s 5th World Championship title was noteworthy, seeing him match Juan Manuel Fangio as joint-second on the all-time list.

F1 voters didn’t turn out in force last year, however, when Hamilton was a no show on the night, and finished in 6th place on the vote. Press stories last month included Hamilton going on record as saying he is unlikely to attend this year which, if correct, could damage his vote again.

It’s not inconceivable we have a shock winner, like last year. We saw last year how an endearing live video chat with Mo Farah playing with his kids at home, won the hearts of voters. How things play out on the night with the edit will again hold significant sway.

England’s penalty shoot-out win, meanwhile, looks a worthy odds-on fav to win the ‘Greatest Moments’ award, with football being the most populist sport, but is by no means a sure thing. Voters are limited to only 1 vote online and this comes down a lot to motivation.

A Top 3 finish for Dina Asher-Smith could be within reach pending the composition of the final shortlist

England Test cricket fans hold Cook in very high esteem for his outstanding achievements as a Test batsman, and he has been a fantastic ambassador for English cricket over the course of his stellar career. Test cricket fans will be eager to see Cook earn some lifetime recognition.

Fury will have his voters too, as will the England netball team, but Cook at double figure odds looks the value play in this market. The vote for this closes at 8pm on Friday evening when the market should become suspended on Betfair.

World Sports Star of the Year, formerly Overseas Personality of the Year, is another 1-vote only, online vote with votes allowed from abroad. It is difficult to have a strong opinion on this other than the fact the women’s tennis world must feel like it has been harshly snubbed with Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka all winning maiden Slam titles this year – Osaka’s stunning win at the US Open particularly impressive – and Angelique Kerber winning Wimbledon for the first time, yet none of them make the shortlist of 4. The vote for this one closes at 2pm on Saturday.

Southgate looks red-hot fav to win Coach of the Year, while the England football team will likely battle for the Team award with the European Ryder Cup team and the England women’s netball team.

There have been some keen Lizzy Yarnold backers, possibly encouraged by the fact she is pregnant at the moment, but given equal billing on the night the view here would be Dina Asher-Smith will likely outpoll Lizzy.

A Top 3 finish for the charming Dina, who managed to win 3 sprint golds at the European Championships, could be within reach pending the composition of the final shortlist, as there is definitely room for at least one of Thomas, Kane and Hamilton to under-perform on the vote and miss out on a podium spot.

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