6 contenders for the 2021 Sports Personality of the Year award in focus

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The 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony takes place on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the six contenders on the shortlist for the main award.

Tom Daley

Of all the 65 medals Team GB won at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, arguably none was better received than the long-awaited gold for Daley, 13 years after his first Games appearance in Beijing aged just 14.

Daley took top spot on the podium in the 10 metre synchro diving alongside Matty Lee, eclipsing the bronze medals he secured in London and Rio.

He competed in London still grieving the loss of his father to a brain tumour the year before. The year after those Games he came out as gay, and has become a vocal campaigner for the LGBTQ+ community in sport and wider society.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury's is the most controversial name on the BBC shortlist
Tyson Fury’s is the most controversial name on the BBC shortlist (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

The heavyweight boxer’s relationship with these awards is torrid to say the least. He was first included on the shortlist in 2015 after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko but a petition was launched to remove him after comments he made linking homosexuality and paedophilia surfaced.

He missed out on a top-three finish six years ago but was nominated again in 2020, and on that occasion threatened legal action if his name was not removed.

The BBC declined to do so, and on sporting grounds could hardly ignore the 33-year-old’s right to a place on this year’s list after he won the third fight in his trilogy against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in October to retain the WBC title.

Adam Peaty

Peaty is Mr Consistent and headed into Tokyo as the closest thing Britain had to a nailed-on gold in the 100 metres breaststroke, an event where at one point this year he had set the 20 fastest times ever recorded.

He duly delivered in that event but what was even better was how he helped to inspire Britain’s best-ever team performance in an Olympic pool.

Overall the swimmers claimed eight medals, with Peaty part of the 4x100m mixed medley relay team which took gold and the men’s medley relay team which secured silver.

He ended the year as a celebrity entrant on Strictly Come Dancing but the focus will switch back to swimming success in the new year.

Emma Raducanu

Raducanu stunned the tennis world with her US Open victory in September
Raducanu, then 18, stunned the tennis world with her US Open victory in September (ZUMA/PA)

Raducanu started the year as a virtual unknown and ends it as the odds-on favourite for the BBC award.

In September she won the US Open, becoming the first British female winner of a grand slam tennis tournament since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977, but it was the manner of that victory which made her achievement all the more remarkable.

Raducanu, 19, gave a first glimpse of her potential at Wimbledon, reaching the fourth round before being forced to withdraw from her match against Aja Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties.

But no one predicted the fairytale of New York which was about to unfold as she became the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam – and did so without even dropping a set.

She now finds herself one of the biggest names in British sport, which brings with it the pressure to build on that success at Flushing Meadows.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling was England's star performer at Euro 2020
Raheem Sterling was England’s star performer at Euro 2020 (Mike Egerton/PA)

The 27-year-old was widely regarded as England’s best individual performer as they reached their first major tournament final in 55 years at Euro 2020.

He set the tone with England’s opening goal against Croatia, gave England lift-off in the last 16 against Germany and helped bring about the equaliser against Denmark in the semi-final.

Sterling and the team were unable to find enough to see off Italy in the final, and he also finished as a Champions League final runner-up for Manchester City against Chelsea.

He did help City regain the Premier League title and win a fourth-straight Carabao Cup. His goal in the win over Wolves earlier this month was his 100th in the English top flight.

Dame Sarah Storey

Storey became Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time with a 17th gold at the Tokyo Games as she triumphed in the C4-5 cycling road race.

Tokyo was the 44-year-old’s eighth Paralympics overall, having first competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games in swimming.

She switched to cycling in 2005 and has enjoyed incredible success, and has already hinted she may look to add to her medal collection at the Paris Games in 2024.

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