Sports History Chronicle British Sportsman of the Year 2015: Adam Peaty

British sportsmen who have achieved notable wins in 2015 included:

Gary Anderson (Darts) – PDC world champion and Premier League winner.

Gary Hunt (Diving) – world 27m high diving champion.

James Guy (Swimming) – world champion at 200m freestyle

Adam Peaty (Swimming) – world champion at 50m and 100m breaststroke and world record breaker

Tai Woffinden – world speedway champion for the second time

Lewis Hamilton (Motor Racing) – won his third Formula One world title

Max Whitlock (Gymnastics) – world champion on Pommel

Greg Rutherford (Athletics) – world long jump champion

David Florence (Canoeing) – world champion at C1 slalom

Richard Whitehead (Para-athletics) – World champion at two events and two world records

Aled Davies (Para-athletics) – world champion and world records at Shot and Discus

Mo Farah (Athletics) – world champion at 5000m and 10000m

Andy Murray (Tennis) – Davis Cup heroics and world ranked number Two

Chris Froome (Cycling) – Tour de France winner

Giles Scott (Sailing) – Finn world champion

Nick Thompson (Sailing) – Laser world champion

Tyson Fury, James DeGale,Billy Joe Saunders, Liam Smith,Anthony Crolla, Terry Flanagan,  Kell Brook, Lee Selby, Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton, Jamie McDonnell, Lee Haskins -World champion Boxers

My evaluation of the contenders:

Anderson won the World title and Premier League, the two most prestigious titles in the PDC, but has generally been outshone by Michael van Gurwen over the year.

Hunt won the world title and world cliff diving series winning six out of eight events.  This is still a minority sport and a perfect season is needed to be considered as sportsman of the year.

Guy was a slightly surprising winner of the world title and his time was the fastest of the year.  However, it was very close.  Peaty had a great year winning three world titles and setting two world records.  He has to be on the shortlist for Sportsman of the year.

Woffinden won his second world title but only won two Grand Prix in the season.

Hamilton was a more convincing winner of the world F1 title than previously, although once he had won it he seemed to lose focus.  As always though it was the superiority of the car that was the main factor in such a convincing win.  It is hard to assess how good he is when he only has one serious rival for the title.

Whitlock became the first British man to win a world gymnastics title. After an early season  affected by illness where he failed to make the final of the European championships he came back to win the world pommel horse title by a fraction over team-mate Louis Smith.  He came close to a medal in the all-around event.  To be shortlisted for my award he had to do a little more over the year.

Greg Rutherford had an excellent year winning the world title and Grand Prix.  It was probably his most consistent season but he didn’t match his furthest mark from 2014 so not quite enough for a nomination for my award.

Farah did the world championship double, again aided by a lack of commitment by others in the race to try and run the finish out of him.  He still didn’t run the really fast time that would give him my award.

The para-athletes Whitehead and Davies both had brilliant years winning world titles and setting world records in doing so.  It is hard to find much more that they could do but the strength in depth of the opposition may have been lacking.  Davies broke his discus world record three times on the way to taking the world title and for that he is on the shortlist for my award.

Murray performed heroically in the Davis Cup winning every singles match although on world rankings he would be expected to have won all of those.  He ended the year at an all-time high ranking of Two.  However, on the Grand slams he only made one final all year and I can’t choose him as Sportsman of the year.

Froome took control of the Tour de France on the first mountain stage and never lost it. He also won the Tour of Andalucia and Critérium du Dauphiné.

Of the sailors Thompson was world champion but that was his only major victory of the year.  Giles Scott, my winner in 2014, had another perfect year winning every regatta he entered (six in total).  He was world champion and world cup winner and hasn’t lost since April 2013.  His fantastic performances earn another nomination from me.

To make sense of the myriad titles available in boxing I look to the Ring magazine rankings.  Fury and Brook are the only two rated as best in the world at their weights by Ring magazine.    Fury was excellent in winning the world heavyweight title but has Klitschko lost his edge with age. Brook made two defences of his IBF Welterweight title. Both won two fights in 2015 but with so few occasions to demonstrate their abilities each year it is hard to give them my award.

So my top three are Giles Scott, Aled Davies and Adam Peaty.

Scott matched his achievements of 2014 to extend his winning run.  Davies had a stellar year breaking world records and winning two world titles but there has to be a question mark over the level of opposition.  There wasn’t really much more that either could do. Peaty lost in short course races at the end of the year when the swimmers are at different levels of training and fitness so I can overlook them.  In the main long course season Peaty was outstanding.  He became the first British man to win two world long course titles at the championships since the 1970s.  Add to that the fact that he set world records at two distances during the year including an Olympic distance event.  No man from any country set a world long course record at any other events in 2015 so Peaty must have a claim to be the world male swimmer of the year.  For that reason Adam Peaty is my Sports History Chronicle British Sportsman of the Year for 2015.

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Adam Peaty

Previous Winners

2014 Giles Scott (Sailing):  Runners-up Rory McIlroy (Golf), Adam Peaty (Swimming)

2013 Mo Farah (Athletics) – winner of the 5000m and 10,000m world titles: Runners-Up: Andy Murray (Tennis), Chris Froome (Cycling)

2012 Bradley Wiggins (Cycling) – winner of the Tour de France and Olympic time trial gold: Runners-up: Ben Ainslie (Sailing),Andy Murray (Tennis), Rory McIlroy (Golf), David Weir (Para Athletics), Mo Farah (Athletics)

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