Mo Farah in shock as he finally wins Sports Personality of the Year award

Sky News

Sir Mo Farah has pulled off a surprise win to collect the Sports Personality of the Year award for the first time.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist was 50-1 against at some bookies, with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as much as 1-12 odds-on favourite.

Sir Mo's previous best finish in the public vote at the BBC event was third in 2011.

The long-distance star was not at the ceremony because one of his children is ill, so appeared by video feed.

Viewers missed out on his acceptance speech however, with the screen turning blue due to a "generator failure" and the programme already overrunning.

"I honestly thought I wasn't going to win it," he later told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We have such amazing sports in the UK with people doing great Lewis Hamilton, Jonnie Peacock and Anthony Joshua.

"I thought my closest would be after London 2012. I guess anything can happen.

"It means a lot to win this. I am very surprised to win tonight and I'm just sorry I can't be there to celebrate."

Farah's track swansong, at the World Championships in London in the summer, did not go quite to plan - at least by his own stellar standards.

He won the 10,000m title but was finally beaten into second in the 5,000m.

But few will argue that Sir Mo does not deserve the award after a career that has seen him dominate his sport and become a household name.

He completed the 'double-double' last year at the Rio Olympics: defending the 5,000m and 10,000m titles he famously won at London 2012.

The second-placed sports star at the Liverpool ceremony also surprised many.

Northern Irish motorcycle racer Jonathan Rea, who collected his third consecutive World Superbike title this year - was 3,000 votes behind Sir Mo (80,567 to 83,524).

Rea made a big entrance, riding through the Echo arena on his Kawasaki bike.

He tweeted: "Hell yeah! Thank you so much to everyone out there that voted! You guys put me here! So humbled!!!"

Paralympic sprinter - and Strictly Come Dancing contestant - Jonnie Peacock came third with 73,429 votes after a year when he won 100m gold at the London world championships

"Wow, what a year and what a night!! Utterly shocked, have to say a HUGEEEE thankyou to everyone who voted!!! The support for para sport this year has been outstanding!! Thank you!" tweeted Peacock.

He edged Anthony Joshua into fourth by just 18 votes.

Joshua's thrilling defeat of Wladimir Klitschko had him the massive favourite with the bookies before the ceremony.

However, if he continues to win - and manages to claim another version of the heavyweight crown, he is sure to be among the favourites again in the coming years.

The full voting breakdown is:

Sir Mo Farah: 83,524

Jonathan Rea: 80,567

Jonnie Peacock: 73,429

Anthony Joshua: 73,411

Adam Peaty: 63,739

Lewis Hamilton: 60,627

Chris Froome: 47,683

Harry Kane: 18,759

Anya Shrubsole: 15,237

Bianca Walkden: 13,962

Johanna Konta: 7,591

Elise Christie: 6,504

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