Athletics stars shine at Sports Personality 2019

The prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019 saw fantastic success for the sport of athletics.

World Champions Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson were both in the final shortlist of six for the coveted award – with Dina gaining an impressive third place overall following the public vote. And there was also a surprise in store when John Blackie was announced as Coach of the Year following the on-stage interview with his athlete Dina Asher-Smith.

Further success for the sport saw multiple Paralympic medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson accept the Lifetime Achievement Award and the first sub-2-hour marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge taking the World Sport Star of the Year award.

Dina Asher-Smith – Sports Personality of the Year, 3rd place

What a year, what a woman… another award to add to her ever-growing and expansive collection. A speed queen that has certainly put our sport in the spotlight over the last year and again last night; a talent at the peak of her performance, who’s focus will now be fixed firmly on Tokyo 2020.

Dina Asher-Smith is a truly inspirational young woman that has got the backing and heart of the nation, with so much more to give. A second award win for Dina in so many weeks, having recently been hailed a ‘true inspiration’ after picking up the Sporting Hero gong at the Pride of Sport Awards; an award she was presented by her childhood hero, Dame Kelly Holmes.

John Blackie – Coach of the Year

An exceptional coach that guided Dina Asher-Smith to World Championship gold, John has coached Dina at Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletics Club since she was eight years old. Both John and Dina are ambassadors for our #GoCoach campaign, and John’s message to all volunteer coaches last night was, ‘this is the sort of thing you can do; don’t give up, set your sights high.’

Dina who presented him with the award, calls John her ‘second dad’. She went on to say, ‘John deserves this so much. I found out on Wednesday and I cried on the train. He is so inspirational and so selfless. He's been working in Track since before I started, since before I was born, and I think he deserves it so much.’

Click here to find out more about getting into coaching

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson – Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement award

A trailblazer for Paralympic sport and eleven-time Paralympic champion, Tanni won 16 Paralympic medals in total, broke 30 track world records and won the London Marathon six times. She was presented with her award by Sir Chris Hoy. Quoting Nelson Mandela on receiving her award, she said, ‘sport has the power to change the world!’

Tanni also thanked all volunteers who supported her throughout her sporting career and stressed the importance for young people to have the opportunity to get active and play sport. Growing up I tried multiple sports, but I was so fortunate I found something I love and became good at. There were so many people, volunteers, who gave up their time and I wouldn't be here without them so thank you so much. It's been an amazing journey to see where the Paralympic movement is today. For young people today we have to make sure they have an opportunity to get active and play sport.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

Congratulations also to shortlisted Katarina Johnson-Thompson, ambassador for our funetics programme. Another exceptional young talent that is as committed to helping develop and grow our sport, as she is to dominate in her field.

Click here to find out more about funetics - our new child-centred and inclusive programme, which is specifically designed to help improve the physical literacy of primary school children.

England Athletics Head of Coaching and Athlete Development Martin Rush said, What an exceptional night for athletics and for sport. It was humbling to hear athletes speak so highly of volunteers who have helped them achieve their successes. Also, the importance of providing opportunities for young people to get active and enjoy sport. These two key factors are priorities for all sports, for our sport.

Volunteers underpin our sport; without them our sport wouldn’t happen; athletes like Dina wouldn’t be where they are. I hope volunteers take inspiration from John’s message, and people thinking about getting into coaching are encouraged to do so. I also hope young people are inspired by the likes of Dina and Katarina, and all athletes celebrated on the night. As Tanni said, young people should have the opportunity to try and enjoy all sports. Sport can help shape their future, and participation should be encouraged and accessible to all.

Many congratulations to all award winners and shortlisted sporting stars from all at England Athletics and across our athletics family.