A leading women’s sports charity has backed the decision by the Sports Personality of the Year (Spoty) panel to include five female athletes on their shortlist for the prestigious award.
Spoty’s 2011 edition was marred by controversy after an all-male shortlist was named.
This year rower Katherine Grainger, boxer Nicola Adams, athlete Jessica Ennis and Paralympians Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds are all in contention for the gong, which will be decided by a public vote on December 16.
Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, tennis star Andy Murray, runner Mo Farah, golfer Rory McIlroy, sailor Ben Ainslie and Paralympian David Weir are also up for the award.
Commenting on the inclusion of five female athletes on this shortlist, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation Sue Tibballs said: “The sporting achievements of our female athletes in 2012 has made it one of the best years for women’s sport ever and we are really pleased to see five female sports stars recognised in this year’s Spoty shortlist.
“Visible female role models are crucial to inspire girls and women to get more active, which is why this kind of public recognition is so important.
“We need to make sure that the all-male shortlist of 2011 is never allowed to happen again. Women’s sport suffers from chronic under investment and a lack of media coverage in the UK.
“If we are to build on the success of 2012 we need to make sure that sure that the British public are given more opportunities to see their female sports heroes in action.”