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THE WINNERS of the 2015 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards in association with Vitality have been announced at a star-studded ceremony in London. The event was broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky 1 between 9.30pm and 11pm tonight.

The prestigious Awards, now in their 28th year, celebrate the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite performers, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational female figures.

Hosted by Sky Sports News HQ presenter Kate Abdo and Sky’s F1 correspondent Natalie Pinkham, the seven awards were presented at the Sky studios in south-west London. Presenters included former Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion Christine Ohuruogu, ex-England football players Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher, and TV presenter Ade Adepitan.

Other well-known guests from the world of sport included: Charlotte Edwards, Carl Froch, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Damon Hill, Steph Houghton, Tracey Neville, Heather Stanning, Amy Williams and Jonny Wilkinson.

The 2015 Award Winners

THE 2015 SUNDAY TIMES & SKY SPORTS SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jessica Ennis-Hill

Ennis-Hill received the main accolade for the second time – she was a winner in 2012 – in recognition of her gold medal at the IAAF world athletics championships in Beijing.

The 29-year-old Sheffield star completed a remarkable return to athletics this season, becoming world heptathlon champion just 13 months after giving birth to her son Reggie in July 2014.

Ennis-Hill said: “I am so honoured to win this award. This time last year I never thought I would be here in this room with these amazing women, who have achieved so much and are changing so much in their sport.

“It’s really emotional standing here, especially when I think back to the year I have had. It has been incredibly hard: adjusting to life as a mum, having all those amazing experiences and reaching the top of my career.

“I don’t see myself as ‘Supermum’. I am a new mum and I am doing what I love, doing an amazing sport. ‘Supermums’ are mums who do so much more than I do.”

Second place: Lizzie Armitstead (road cycling)
Third place: Lizzy Yarnold (skeleton)
Also nominated: Rachel Atherton (mountain biking), Charlotte Dujardin (dressage), Bianca Walkden (taekwondo)
Presented by: Christine Ohuruogu

VITALITY TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: The England Women’s Hockey Team

Sunday Times readers, Sky Sports viewers and Vitality members were encouraged to vote for their favourite female sportswomen of 2015 – and they did so in their thousands over the course of two-and-a-half weeks. The hockey team beat the Olympic and world Holland 3-1 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw in normal time, to win the EuroHockey Championships in August – their first victory in the competition since 1991.

Sam Quek said: “This is an absolute honour. On behalf of our squad, simply to be shortlisted for this award is wonderful. But to win it is awesome.”

Alex Danson said: “The support we have had has been absolute fantastic. As a team, we were inspired by the England women’s football team, who were third at the World Cup. Hopefully this type of award can be a platform for us to showcase our sport.”

Ashleigh Ball said: “We came from 2-0 down in the final with very little time left. We showed true English dogged determination – and we hope that will take us a long way next year in Rio.”

Also nominated: Chelsea Ladies, England women’s football team, rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning
Presented by: Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp

YOUNG SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
(Nominees must be 21 years of younger)
Winner: Dina Asher Smith

The sprinter broke two national records this year, becoming the fastest teenager in history. The 19-year-old from Londoner broke her own 100m record, with a time of 10.99sec at the Olympic Park at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, the first British woman to run under 11 seconds. In the final of the 200m at the IAAF world athletics championships in Beijing, Asher-Smith finished fifth in a time of 22.07sec, breaking the British record of 22.10sec set by Kathy Cook in 1984 – 11 years before Asher-Smith was born.

Asher-Smith said: “The highlight of my year was running sub-11 seconds in the Olympic stadium in July. People say it might happen but actually being able to do it, in front of my mum and dad too, was amazing. This year has been a little overwhelming, a bit different. I didn’t expect to achieve this much.”

Also nominated: Rachelle Booth (taekwondo), Ellie Downie (artistic gymnastics), Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (swimming)
Presented by: Steph Houghton

DISABILITY SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jordanne Whiley

Jordanne won a maiden major singles tennis title after beating regular doubles partner Yui Kamiji in the US Open women’s wheelchair final in September. In her first appearance in a major singles final, Whiley beat her 21-year-old Japanese friend 6-4 0-6 6-1 at Flushing Meadows. Elsewhere this year in wheelchair doubles, Whiley and Kamiji won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles. Whiley, from Birmingham, suffers from brittle bone disease.

The 23-year-old was unable to attend the Awards as she was competing in Los Angeles. However, she sent a recorded video message, saying: “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there tonight.

“I want to thank everybody who has nominated and supported me. There are so many great Paralympians achieving wonderful things – and I am honoured to have this recognition.”

Also nominated: Hannah Cockroft (athletics), Tully Kearney (swimming), Sarah Storey (road/track cycling)
Presented by: Ade Adepitan

THE HELEN ROLLASON AWARD FOR INSPIRATION
Winner: Annie Zaidi

Midlands football coach Annie Zaidi is the first South Asian and Muslim woman in her region to acquire a Level 2 coaching certification badge from the Football Association.

When she was the only female manager of a Sunday League team in her area, Zaidi endured overwhelming levels of discrimination from opposition team managers and parents. However, despite the abuse and lack of inclusion, she did not abandon her dreams, maintaining her passion to coach football.

She is currently head coach of the under-11s at Leicester City Girls’ Centre of Excellence. And has recently completed a placement at QPR, coaching the under-21s team – a great step towards her goal of one day becoming a coach in the professional men’s game. With the support of QPR director Les Ferdinand and the former Rangers manager Chris Ramsey, she has undertaken her UEFA B license.

Zaidi said: “I coach at QPR every week. I coach the under-21s – and tell the boys how it is really done. I’m hoping to get my Uefa B licence done at the end of this year. My ultimate job in football? Well that would be to coach the Arsenal men’s team maybe.”

Presented by: Alex Butler, Sports editor, The Sunday Times

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winner: Enid Bakewell

Enid Bakewell was one of England’s finest female cricketers. In 1973, Bakewell top-scored for the host nation during the inaugural women’s cricket world cup finals. She produced a match-winning performance as England beat Australia by 92 runs in the 60-overs final at Edgbaston.

Enid Bakewell (née Turton), who born in Nottinghamshire, on December 16, 1940, was a right-handed batswoman and slow left-arm spinner. By her figures alone, she has a strong claim to be regarded as the best all-rounder that the English women’s game has produced.

Remarkably, the part-time schoolteacher was unbeaten in 12 Test matches for England between 1968 and 1979. Overall, she scored 1,078 Test runs at an average of 59.88, scoring four centuries. She took 50 wickets at a bowling average of 16.62.

Bakewell is one of only five cricketers, male or female, to have hit a century and taken 10 wickets in the same Test – a feat she achieved on her final appearance (against the West Indies at Edgbaston). She continued to play domestically for East Midlands well into her 50s. Only a few years ago the now 74-year-old used to turn-out occasionally for the Redoubtables club side in Surrey.

Bakewell said: “I appreciate what the current women’s cricket does – and how amazing women’s cricket has evolved, the steps it has forward taken. I am so pleased for the girls these days.

“But I have to be a little bit cheeky. This Award is a little bit too early, if I am honest. I intend to keep playing until I am 80. I turn 75 next month so I have at least five years left.”

Presented by: Clare Connor

COMMUNITY AWARD
Winner: Liverpool Homeless Football Club

Set up in 2007, the initial premise was to support men across Merseyside who found themselves homeless. Following the success of the club it was decided in 2012 to establish a similar women’s project. Footballer Fara Williams, England’s most capped footballer, who has been homeless herself, has been a key supporter of the club’s community work. The first event held was the ‘Women Against Domestic Abuse Cup’. The club helped to highlight that during the football season domestic abuse increasers by 19%. The club, which has more than 1,000 members, is run entirely on volunteers with some several key women running the project. The club were represented on the night by Jean Barrett, Beth Burns, Poppy Comer, Frances Davis abd Angela MacKay.

Comer said: “This is absolutely amazing. We watch homeless girls grow each week, coming up through each session.”

Ann O’Byrne, the deputy mayor of Liverpool, said: “This club gives something back to the community and recognises that everybody deserves a second or third chance. They bring up people, see them develop and get opportunities. Whether it is terms of training or employment, get a girlfriend or a boyfriend, have children; the club sees them grow and improve. It’s the most inspirational thing I know.”

Also nominated: Eddie Brocklesby, Wendy Russell, Kay Salter, Marnie Swindells
Presented by: Tracey Neville