Anthony Joshua leads list of contenders for Sports Personality prize

  •  PA Sport

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua leads the nominations for the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 28-year-old former Olympic champion, currently ranked the world’s top heavyweight, is the odds-on favourite to win the award after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April earned him the WBA and IBO belts to add to his existing IBF title.

He successfully defended his IBF title against late replacement Carlos Takam in October in front of 80,000 people at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

However, he faces competition from 2014 award winner Lewis Hamilton, who won a fourth Formula One drivers’ title last month, and Chris Froome, who won his fourth Tour de France in the summer.

Mo Farah, who won the world 10,000 metres title in London but narrowly missed out on the 5,000m double in his final track season, is also on the list along with Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

He was the Premier League’s top scorer in 2016-17 for the second season in a row and was England’s leading scorer in their successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

British women’s tennis number one Johanna Konta is also among the nominees having reached her best singles world ranking of four in the summer after the biggest win of her career at the Miami Open, where she beat Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in the semi and final, and then reached the last four at Wimbledon.

Short-track speed-skater Elise Christie has been recognised after becoming the first European woman to win the 1,000m, 1500m and overall gold at the World Championships in Rotterdam in March.

Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea, who secured a third successive World Superbikes title, is also on the list, as is Jonnie Peacock after he secured gold at the IPC World Athletics Championships in the T44 100m.

Swimmer Adam Peaty’s record-breaking achievements at the World Aquatics Championships have been recognised.

The 22-year-old Olympic champion retained his 100m and 50m breaststroke titles, breaking his own world record twice in the shorter event and becoming the first man to swim the distance in under 26 seconds.

England women’s cricketer Anya Shrubsole makes the list for her performance as they won the World Cup on home soil.

The medium-pacer claimed six for 46, the best figures in the final at Lord’s, to turn the match on its head with India needing just 38 from 44 balls with seven wickets in hand.

Bianca Walkden, who successfully defended her world taekwondo heavyweight title in South Korea, completes the 12-strong list.

However, not everyone is happy with the shortlist. Many rugby supporters feel key members of the British and Irish Lions squad which drew with New Zealand deserved a nomination. With Owen Farrell particularly hard done by.

The winner will be decided by public vote, with the live show taking place in Liverpool on December 17.

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