It is one of the evenings that sports fans the country over look forward to around this time of the year. Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) has become an annual fixture in some many calendars, and, with a further 12 worthy nominees all in contention for the prestigious award, this year promises to be no different. A three part series of features attempting the impossible – to predict the candidates’ final positions – will continue by previewing those forecast to finish between 5th and 8th.
8. Harry Kane – Football
Unlike many of those featuring in the first part of this series of articles, Harry Kane is a nominee who will benefit greatly as a result of the sport he plays and the support that it yields nationally, as he looks to become first footballer to win the award since Ryan Giggs did just that back in 2009.
A key player for both the England national team and the current Tottenham starting XI, Kane has excelled for both club and country in 2017, and it has been his goals that have earned the striker a place on the SPOTY shortlist.
Still just 24 years of age, the clinical forward played a pivotal role in England’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, including the winner in a 1-0 victory over Slovenia which secured his nation’s place at the tournament.
Focusing once more on club football, the Spurs man claimed a second successive Golden Boot as the Premier League’s top goal scorer back in May, netting 29 times on the way to becoming the only Englishman to be nominated for the prestigious Balon d’Or award, eventually collected by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo just last week.
7. Anya Shrubsole – Cricket
In terms of iconic displays on the greatest stage, Anya Shrubsole’s name must go down in history, as some might argue her bowling performance in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup final singlehandedly won her nation a fourth title at the tournament.
Born into a ‘cricket family’ and in the cricket-mad county of Somerset, Shrubsole recorded figures of 6-46 in that final – which included a spell of five wickets in just 19 balls – to claim the best figures in history on such a stage.
A member of the England team for almost a decade already, the 26-year-old’s display in that final ensured that she came away with the player of the match award from that dramatic tie against India; Shrubsole played a key part in what was to be a hugely successful summer of sport for England’s women’s teams.
The SPOTY award was last won by a cricketer way back in 2005, when Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff collected the honour for his work in guiding England to that famous Ashes victory against Australia.
6. Adam Peaty – Swimming
While some dream of being the best at what they do, swimmer Adam Peaty’s motivation must surely now turn to being the best that he can be, having seemingly conquered the world around him at a discipline that he has made his own.
Now common knowledge that Peaty was formerly afraid of water, the 22-year-old broke his own world record twice in the space of just a few hours to qualify for the final of the World Aquatic Championships in July, before going on to win two world titles at the meet.
Moreover, in racing to a time of 25.95 seconds, the Uttoxeter-born athlete became the first ever to break the 26 second mark in the 50m breaststroke, and Peaty retained both his 50m and 100m titles at the championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Sunday evening will be his fourth appearance at the ceremony, though the swimmer has never previously finished higher than tenth (2014) (11th in 2015 and 2016).
5. Anthony Joshua – Boxing
The final athlete to be named in part two of this three-part series, Anthony Joshua has become something of a ‘people’s champion’ with his rise from humble beginnings to world stardom, and 2017 has placed this giant of British boxing almost in a league of his own with many followers of the sport.
Making the greatest contribution to his escalation this year was Joshua’s incredible achievement to defeat the legendary Wladimir Klitschko via an 11th-round stoppage at Wembley Stadium back in April; a feat which ensured the 6ft. 6in fighter maintained his unbeaten professional career-record to date.
It is also an achievement that replicates that of fellow Brit Tyson Fury, who earned himself a fourth-place SPOTY 2015 finish soon after claiming victory over the Ukrainian.
Attending his first SPOTY as a nominee, Joshua showed a different side to his ‘game’ by also defeating the resilient Carlos Takam in the tenth round back in October, defending both his WBA and IBF titles in the process.
How to Watch:
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport Website
Date: Sunday 17 December, 2017
Time: 18:45 GMT
Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool