Paralympians Poised To Land 2012 BBC Team Spoils

Dec 31, 2011 by

The 2012 sporting year is going to be dominated by the Olympics and it will be a surprise if the winner of SPOTY 2012 is not a winning Olympian.
Team GB will have a plethora of individual gold medal winners at London 2012 and it might be easy to assume the multi-gold winners will be the stand-out candidates to go on and take the prestigious BBC crown. This was the case back in 2008 when Chris Hoy’s 3 cycling golds helped him land that year’s SPOTY award.
If it’s not multi-gold, then you need to be looking at headline golds and one of those would be Ben Ainslie, who will be going for an historic 4th sailing gold.
Ainslie was recently in the headlines for the wrong reasons after remonstrating with the crew of a media boat which resulted in his disqualification from the world championships, but on ‘home’ water, given his Olympic pedigree, and all his preparations geared towards victory at London 2012, he is definitely one for the short-list, at a best-priced 20-1 e/w with William Hill, as you could imagine the sailing fraternity getting behind him if he does win a fourth gold and giving Ainslie the full electioneering treatment which has proved so successful in recent years of the award with campaigns for McCoy and Cavendish both doing the business.
Mo Farah, available at 10-1 e/w with both Coral and William Hill, should also be added to the SPOTY 2012 portfolio. It was only a week or so back that he was finishing 3rd in the 2011 award, and he must have an outstanding chance of going 2 places better if achieving double gold in London. This looks well within his compass having gone so close at the 2011 World Athletics Championships, and he is rated only 6-1 to win double gold with the likes of William Hill and Coral.
Double gold for Farah in London would make him extremely hard to beat as he’s such a personable chap. He’s humble, a real family man and already much loved by the British sporting public.
Andy Murray will be in pursuit of that elusive first Major once more in 2012. It remains a tough assignment as he remains a notch below the level of tennis Messrs Djokovic, Nadal and Federer can produce. That said, it remains within his grasp as quotes of 6-1 Murray to win the 2012 Australian Open serve to illustrate. A major win would put him right in the mix given the powerful Scottish voting lobby – it was noticeable that Murray managed to poll 5th in 2011 with nearly 20,000 votes which was quite some achievement given he was flying beneath most people’s radar as a contender.
Given the furore over the lack of sportswomen making the 2011 list, rest assured they will be represented in 2012 with the BBC expected to change the way in which it compiles its short-list of 10 contenders. Rebecca Adlington, Victoria Pendleton and Jess Ennis will all be certainties to make the list if they win gold in London, but of those 3 we only like one as a major contender for the SPOTY 2012 crown, and that would be Jess Ennis.
The reason for this is that Ennis competes in one of the most demanding, and iconic, track & field events, and she is an iconic athlete for Team GB, and the pin-up girl of the 2012 Olympic Games. She is priced around 6-4 to win heptathlon gold but she is going to have her work cut out defeating Tatyana Chernova of Russia, who beat Ennis at the 2011 world championships by some 129pts. Ennis blew her chances with a sub-standard javelin there but even so Chernova is an improving athlete and Jess is probably going to have to set a few personal bests along the way to stand a chance of defeating her in London.
Driven on by patriotic home support we can see Ennis reversing world championship form and given her prohibitive heptathlon gold odds, we would much rather back Ennis to win SPOTY 2012 because if she does win gold, we think she will be very hard to beat in a public vote, even if up against a potential double-gold winning rival such as Farah.
We would certainly not want to be red on either Murray or Ennis and would rather get them in the green column at respective best odds of 11-1 and 6-1.
We are against the golfers in 2012. Major wins and Ryder Cup heroics will not cut much ice with the voting public set against Olympic winners. We are also against Mark Cavendish retaining his crown. He may well win another 5 stages at the Tour de France and win gold at the Olympics in 2012 but it would be surprising if there was another big campaign for him to win given the recognition he has now received. The last sportsman to win the award twice was Damon Hill in 94 and 96.
Similarly, it would be a surprise to see Chris Hoy land the award again even if he wins another Olympic gold in 2012. Tom Daley is likable and a likely gold medal winner in diving but we would expect him to come up short in the vote up against other Olympic gold winners.
A more interesting, speculative wager is David Beckham to win SPOTY for a second time at 50-1 e/w with Ladbrokes. Beckham looks a shoe-in to play for Team GB and if he makes the squad he could quite conceivably be chosen by Stuart Pearce as his captain. While Euro 2012 players won’t be available for the Team GB squad, and there are still issues over Scottish and Welsh players being given the chance to play, England’s wealth of U23 talent, plus 2 other senior players to join Beckham, is sure to see Team GB challenging strongly for gold, especially as Argentina will not be defending their gold due to non-qualification.
Football gold for a Beckham-led Team GB, combined with Beckham’s iconic status and enormous popularity with the UK sporting public would make him a single figure price for SPOTY so it’s a value e/w punt worth taking.

Unfortunately, the 12-1 we were going to flag up on the GB Paralympic Team to win the 2012 Team of the Year award, and the centrepiece of this preview, has now gone. The price is into 5-1 with William Hill and more in line with their chance. That said, we would not put you off taking the 5-1. It’s a logical conclusion to reach that a successful medal haul at the 2012 Paralympics in London will tee them up to win the BBC award.
The last time they were recognised was when they jointly landed the prize back in 2000 with the Olympic Team. They achieved an impressive medal haul in Beijing 2008 of 102 medals including 42 golds, finishing second in the medal table behind China. A medal tally remotely comparable with this and you have to anticipate the overtly, politically-correct Beeb recognising our less able-bodied athletes at the December gong-fest.
Rob Furber

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1 Comment

  1. GW

    Everything points to Ennis or Farah, as the standard bearers of the flagship sport at London 2012 – if one of them can earn gold. After another year of huge mileage under Salazar, Farah must have a great chance in the 10,000 and is a great shot at 10-1

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