Sports History Chronicle British Sportsman of the Year 2017: Aled Davies @AledDavies2012

As with my other awards this year some of the big names were having a low-key 2017 after peaking for the Olympics in 2016.  Perhaps there aren’t as many names here to consider as sometimes.

Some of the sportsmen I considered were:

Chris Froome who won the Tour de France for the fourth time and never really looked like losing.  He then went on to win the Vuelta a Espana to become the first man to win those two races in the same year since the 1970s.

Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One title for the fourth time.  His Mercedes team was again the dominant force but this year he was given a battle by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.  As always much of the credit has to go to the team around him but Hamilton is one of the best if not the best in the sport.

Jonathan Rea won the world superbike title for the third time by a convincing margin.  A fine achievement by the Ulsterman to win this title but I always wonder with superbikes that the pinnacle of the sport is in Moto GP.

Russell Cheetham won the World Gliding Open Class Championship.

In gymnastics Max Whitlock retained his world title at Pommel Horse.

Harry Kane scored more goals in 2017 than any player in one of the top leagues.  He also broke the record for most goals in a year in the Premier League.  A superb year for the Spurs player but his team didn’t win anything in 2017 which I think counts against him.

Mo Farah bowed out of track running with yet another gold in the world championships at 10000m.  This time he was unable to double up when he won the silver in the 5000m.

Frederick Winter won the world title for slalom in water-skiing

Aled Davies set another world record in the shot put at the Para Athletics world championships and won golds in the shot and discus.  There were world records in Para athletics in 2017 by Richard Whitehead and  Ben Rowlings,

Mark Selby won his third world snooker title and is a clear number one in the rankings although he failed to win the other major titles.

Liam Heath won the world K1 200m sprint canoeing title. At World Cups Heath won gold and silver. At the European Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, he successfully defended his K1 200m title in a World best time of 33.38 seconds and set a world best time.

James Woods – won the gold medal at the Winter X Games in the big air freestyle skiing event and at the world championships won bronze in slopestyle.

British boxers had another successful year with Ryan Burnett, Lee Selby, Anthony Joshua, Kal Yafai. Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves holding titles.  There are so many titles around with so many organisations awarding them that it is hard to evaluate their worth. Worthy of note is that Burnett won two versions of the Bantamweight title in separate fights.

Tom Daley won his second individual world diving title at the 10m highboard.

At the world aquatics championships there were individual golds for Ben Proud in the 50m butterfly and for Adam Peaty who set two world records in the 50m breaststroke on his way to gold and also won the 100m event.

The elephant in the room here is the potential for Chris Froome to lose the Vuelta a Espana title because of a failed drugs test.  It seems very likely that he will at the very least be stripped of that title which still leaves him with the Tour  de France.  If Froome keeps the Vuelta title I would probably make him my Sportsman of the Year as it is such an unusual achievement to do the double.  However, I can’t allow it given the uncertainty.

So my nominations are :

Adam Peaty who has won for the last two years and could easily win it again for 2017 after another brilliant year with two world titles and taking a large chunk off a world record.  He did lose one final in the European Short course championship later in the year but won the 100m gold.

Liam Heath won both major championships he contested in 2017 and set a world best time for the 200m K1 event.  As always with canoeing best times things are very dependent on favourable conditions and as other records were set on the same day they were clearly helpful in Plovdiv.  Nonetheless it was a great performance  He did suffer one world cup defeat.

However, my choice for the British Sportsman of the Year 2017 is Aled Davies.  He has been an outstanding competitor for several years in the throwing events in Para Athletics but this year his winning effort in the shot put at the world championships was extraordinary.  He added well over a metre to his own world record to take the title with a put of 17.52 metres.  He also won the discus at the championships.  For me the shot record is the outstanding performance of the year by a British sportsman.

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Previous winners:

2016 Adam Peaty (Swimming) Runners Up: Jason Kenny, Mo Farah, Max Whitlock, Ollie Hynd, Adam Peaty and Andy Murray
2015 Adam Peaty (Swimming), Runners-up: Giles Scott (Sailing), Aled Davies (Para Athletics)
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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