Campbell wins presitigious sports journalists’ award

GB ROWING’S single sculler, Alan Campbell, has won an “International Newcomer of the Year” award at the 58th annual SJA (Sports Journalists’ Association) Sports Awards in London.
Campbell won medals at world cup level in 2006 and reached the final of the World Championships.

“I’m delighted to receive this honour”, he said at yesterday’s ceremony.  “It’s not often that, in rowing, we get recognition all year-round. Hopefully, I can put us in the spotlight over the next two years to Beijing and, maybe, beyond that to 2012”.

Campbell was part of a group of boats sponsored by Siemens in 2006.  The GB rowing squad is supported by the lottery.

Joe Calzaghe, the boxer who has held the world title for nearly a decade, and Zara Phillips, only the third rider ever to hold European and world three-day event titles simultaneously, were named as the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at Awards ceremony.

In front of an audience of nearly 400 personalities from the worlds of sport and journalism at a celebration lunch held at The Brewery, Calzaghe, the super middleweight world champion since 1997, became the seventh boxer to win the prestigious Sportsman of the Year Award, voted for by the country’s top sports journalists.

The 34-year-old Welshman’s award was less of a long-service medal, though, and more in recognition of a tremendous performance earlier in 2006 when he beat the American, Jeff Lacy, unify the WBO and IBF belts. Sugar Ray Leonard, one of Calzaghe’s childhood heroes, described it as one of the best performances he had ever seen.

Calzaghe is planning a 20th world title defence for 2007; Joe Louis holds the record, at 25.

Phillips, the Queen’s grand-daughter, attended the SJA Awards for the second successive year, but this time it was to receive the women’s top prize.

The 25-year-old had claimed individual gold on her horse Toytown in the three-day event world championships, and also helped Great Britain secure a team silver.

She is now rated among Britain’s best Olympic medal hopes for not only 2008, but also the London Games in 2012.

Phillips’s mother, HRH, The Princess Royal, won the SJA’s Sportswoman of the Year Award in 1971, the year that she won the European three-day event title.

The other principle SJA award, that of Team of the Year, inevitably went to Europe’s Ryder Cup squad, after their demolition of the best golfers from the United States at the K Club, outside Dublin. It is the fifth time that the Ryder Cup golfers have won the SJA Team Award. Although GB’s Camelot-backed men’s four, winners of the world title in 2005 and 2006, were heavily featured in the promotional footage for the event.

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