Sports Personality of the Year: Who are the contenders?

Awards Wednesday July 12, 2023 By: Harry Howes

We may only be halfway through the year but as we enjoy a wonderful summer of sport, all the stars we’re enjoying watching will already have one eye on December. Don’t worry, they’re not thinking about their Christmas Dinner – but they may be starting to dream of winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Our biggest star of 2023 will be crowned at the end of the year, joining the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Kelly Holmes and Mo Farah in sporting folklore. There’s still plenty of sport to be played between now and then so things could change very quickly. As we look ahead to the award, we’ve broken down who the contenders could be.

England’s cricketers

While an Ashes win is looking unlikely following a disastrous opening two Test matches from England, stranger things have happened. And if their new-look ‘Bazball’ inspired team is going to turn their fortunes around against Australia, you can guarantee that captain and 2019 SPOTY winner Ben Stokes will be involved.

With the T20 World Cup to come later in the year, it could be an iconic year for English cricket – or one to forget. Despite Ashes disappointment so far, the likes of Joe Root and Stuart Broad look as fresh as ever, so there’s every chance that one of England’s cricketers could make themselves a hero and claim the SPOTY crown.

England v Australia Day 3

The Lionesses

The England women’s football team has gone from strength to strength in recent years and they’ll be looking to follow up their incredible European Championships triumph with a World Cup win this summer.

Should they bring football home once again, a number of their stellar squad will be in the Sports Personality of the Year conversation. Beth Mead won the gong last year after winning the golden boot at the Euros but injury has ruled her out of the World Cup squad.

In her place, new Arsenal signing Alessia Russo will be looking to fill the void, aided by exciting young attackers Lauren James and Lauren Hemp. Meanwhile, stalwarts Millie Bright and Lucy Bronze will be keeping things ticking over at the back.

Frankie Dettori

We know what you’re thinking – how can an Italian be in with a shot at winning? Well, while we’re used to the award being won by Brits, anybody is eligible to win as long as the majority of their sport takes place on these shores.

Dettori has established himself as one of the greatest jockeys in history and he’ll certainly be in contention as he prepares to retire at the end of the season. He’s enjoyed another glittering campaign in the saddle and he recently claimed his ninth career Gold Cup win at Ascot aboard Courage Mon Ami.

Frankie Dettori

The England rugby team

The Rugby World Cup takes place in France later this year and while the hosts are among the favourites alongside New Zealand and Ireland, Steve Borthwick’s England side will fancy their chances at repeating their heroics from 2003.

England reached the final four years ago, where they ultimately fell at the final hurdle against South Africa, and they’ll be keen to make amends this time around. If they do go all the way, one of the members of their squad could add the SPOTY trophy to their collection.

Owen Farrell has been confirmed as captain for the tournament and the Saracens fly-half finished the 2019 tournament as the second-highest points scorer. Meanwhile, if Scotland or Wales win the competition, the award could end up with one of their heroes instead.

Rory Mcllroy

Rory Mcclroy could see himself with an outside shout for the gong, with plenty of golf still to be played this year. An unfortunate second place finish in the US Open was still a good result for the northern Irishman, after missing the cut in the Masters earlier in the year.

Success in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, followed by helping team Europe to victory later in the year could help Mcllroy to become a main contender for the award.

Other Contenders

Following Manchester City’s historic treble win, there’s every chance one of their many stars could make a claim for the award. And following a resurgence over the last few seasons, few could deny that John Stones is deserving of recognition.

Elsewhere, the likes of Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Lewis Hamilton could come into the thinking if they end the year strongly. Plus, with the Rugby World Cup set to take place later this year, a strong tournament from England as mentioned, or even Wales or Scotland may see a contender or two emerge from their squads.

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