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my awards of the year

Felt like writing some end of year material, and what better way than some made-up awards. I fear this might turn into a few posts and genres, so I'll start with the ones for sporting excellence, before I move onto ranting about numpties and corruption.

Awards of the year:

Sports:
Athletics - Sally Pearson. Outstanding season, acknowledged as the fastest non-juiced women's hurdler in history. Absolute perfection when she won the world title in Daegu. Other nominations - Yohan Blake for winning the men's 100m, albeit without Usain Bolt. He will be a contender in London. Anyone else?
Brickbats to anyone who thought refunding all money bet on Bolt (a 1.05 shot) and taking deductions out of other runners would be a good idea - clueless.

Biathlon - Magdalena Neuner. She's stunning, world champion, German sportswoman of the year again and she will retire at the end of this season aged 25. Huge loss to the sport.
Other nominations: Tarjei Boe, the latest Norwegian superstar in the sport, taking over from where Ole Einar Bjorndalen left off.

Cricket - Alistair Cook. Run machine who broke Aussie hearts in the Ashes and then continued on his merry way throughout 2011. Other names could be slotted in there but he has been brilliant in consecutive seasons whereas some of the others have ebbed & flowed a little. As for bowlers - hands up if you knew the top three Test wicket-takers of the year were Saeed Ajmal, Ishant Sharma and Devendra Bishoo??

Cycling - maybe a slight Aussie bias, but what a win it was for Cadel Evans in the Tour de France. Historic moment for Australian sport, and he joins the elite group of non-European winners (only Greg LeMond and Louis Armstrong had done it before).

Golf - Clarke, Donald and McIlroy fighting it out for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, but my vote goes to Adam Scott - after all, he managed to land Ana Ivanovic again!

Hockey - player award goes to Jamie Dwyer, the Lionel Messi of the sport, for winning the FIH Player of the Year award for the fifth time A phenomenal achievement.

Motor Sport - rather than giving the award to Sebastian Vettel for a year of domination, I shall give it to those who have fallen in 2011 - Dan Wheldon, Marco Simoncelli, and most recently, NZ V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards who succumbed to cancer last week at the age of 35. May they rest in peace...

Racing
Jockey: no rider has dominated like Aussie Craig Williams this season - Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, should have ridden the Melbourne Cup winner (suspended), 2nd in the Japan Cup, won the Hong Kong Vase, and I'm sure I've missed a few other big wins in there too.

Horse: Frankel has been a superstar in the UK this year, however, he hasn't travelled anywhere, hasn't raced outside set weights races and hasn't run time. The greatest accolades go to those horses who will take on anyone, anywhere and smash the clock in doing so. I give you Black Caviar - she takes them on in handicaps, she runs brilliant time and only a minor injury in May stopped her from stepping up in distance which will happen next campaign. And she draws in the non-racegoers in a flood unseen since the days of the mighty Phar Lap. Disappointingly, we are yet to see Frankel's pulling power at the attendance gates, at least at anywhere near the levels of the mighty mare from Melbourne.

Harness horse - the mighty Smoken Up who keeps winning the big races, even as a 9yo, and it shows on the clock too. Outstanding.

Swimming - Ryan Lochte was the outstanding man in the pool in a year where Michael Phelps was returning to the water after a break. Four individual golds plus relays, finally shaking the monkey off his back and taking centre stage. In the women, the emergence of a new star - Missy Franklin. This girl will clean up in London, you heard it here.

Tennis - No doubt Novak Djokovic was the star of the men's tour for 2011, but look at the big movers in the rankings - Dolgopolov 48 to 15, Nishikori 98 to 25, Raonic 156 to 31, Bogomolov 166 to 33, Young 129 to 39, Tomic 208 to 42, all massive leaps.

Amongst the women, it's not so clearcut - Kvitova, Li and Stosur for winning their first majors, Petkovic climbing from 32 to 10, Lisicki bouncing back after injury from 159 to 15, Cetkovska 142 to 31, Begu 214 to 40, McHale 115 to 42. I'll give it to Li for the effect it will have on Asian tennis.

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