Beth Mead returned to see off Ben Stokes for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year | BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Beth Mead leads a six strong shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award, with Ben Stokes and Ronnie O’Sullivan also among the contenders.

Mead is the overwhelming favorite to take the trophy after a stellar year for England and Arsenal. The forward was instrumental in the Lionesses’ triumph at the women’s European Championship this summer, scoring the most goals and creating the most goal assists and chances in the tournament. She also created 64 chances for her Arsenal teammates over the calendar year in the WSL. However, Mead is a doubt for next year’s World Cup after rupturing an ACL in a Women’s Super League game against Manchester United last month.

Stokes will also likely feature heavily in the minds of the public, who get to vote for a winner during the live transmission of the awards show, which takes place in Salford on Wednesday evening. The all-rounder delivered another definitive performance in a major final this year, his unbeaten 52 helping England over the line against Pakistan to win the T20 World Cup. As England’s Test captain Stokes has also set about revolutionizing the team’s style of play, with an aggressive all-action approach leading to a clean sweep in the Test series against Pakistan.

O’Sullivan, meanwhile, had perhaps one of the most poignant triumphs of the sporting year as he earned his seventh snooker world championship title some 21 years after his first, at the age of 46, becoming the oldest ever to win the competition. Now level with Stephen Hendry as the most successful player in the tournament’s history, he was also ranked the world’s best player in 2022.

Wednesday night’s ceremony will be hosted by Clare Balding and Gabby Logan as well as Gary Lineker and Alex Scott, who are both back in the UK after covering the World Cup in Qatar. World Cup winner Lionel Messi has already been named as the international sports personality of the year.

Rounding out the shortlist are Eve Muirhead, Jake Wightman and Jessica Gadirova. Muirhead claimed her first gold medal and Britain’s only win at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, as she led the women’s curling team to success. Wightman became 1500m world champion in Eugene, Oregon this summer, the first Briton to hold such the title since Steve Cram in 1983. A final world champion is 18-year-old Gadirova, who won the floor title at the gymnastics world championships, only the fifth British gymnast to win a title of any kind at that level.

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