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Young Sports Personality of the Year - the final three named

27th November 2009

Tom Daley, Heather Watson and Jodie Williams have been selected from a shortlist of 10 to go forward to the final battle for the 2009 Young Sports Personality of the Year title.

The trio, made up of world diving champion Tom Daley, girls junior US Open winner Heather Watson and double world youth sprint gold medallist Jodie Williams, were chosen by a panel chaired by BBC Sport presenter John Inverdale on Monday 23 November.

The panel included BBC Sport host Jake Humphrey, Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, Sportsround's Ore Oduba, previous Young Sports Personality of the Year winners Kate Haywood and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and representatives of the Youth Sport Trust. 

"It was extremely difficult to whittle the list down to three but the trio we have selected are fantastic," said Jake, who will be co-hosting this year's Sports Personality spectacular.

"It is incredible to think an overall winner will be picked from Tom, Heather and Jodie, who have conquered all on the world stage."

Blue Peter's Helen added: "I didn't want to make a top three out of the 10, I wanted to have a top five. It just goes to show how many good candidates there were this year."

The accolade, which is awarded by the BBC in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, will be handed to the winner at the Sports Personality of the Year event in Sheffield on 13 December. Past winners have included Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney, Andy Murray, and last year, Eleanor Simmonds.

Below are profiles of each of the candidates (in alphabetical order) with an explanation from Jake Humphrey as to why each deserves to be on the final list.

Tom Daley, 15
Diving 
After competing at last year's Olympics in Beijing at only 14 years old, the incredible diving career of the schoolboy from Plymouth just keeps on reaching new heights. Tom,  the 2007 Young Sports Personality of the Year, produced a stunning final dive to win a shock gold at his first World Championships this summer. The dive in Rome made Tom Britain's youngest world champion in any sport and a national treasure.

Jake says: Tom was one of the stand-out candidates in the 10. He has been a consistent high achiever and, frankly, to become a world champion at the age of 15, a year after the Olympics, was sensational. He has won the Young Personality title before and he can certainly do it again.

Heather Watson, 17
Tennis 
Inspired by Laura Robson who became junior Wimbledon champion in 2008, Heather Watson has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight to take her own Grand Slam title. In September, she became the first Briton to win the US Open girls tournament as, despite being seeded 11th, she dominated the final beating Russian opponent Yana Buchina in two sets. Earlier in the year she took her first senior title at the Frinton Open, overtaking Laura Robson as the highest ranked British junior at third in the world junior rankings.

Jake says: We're short of tennis superstars in Britain but following on from Andy Murray and Laura Robson I think the nation may have found another one in Heather. Heather has broken new ground and her win at the US Open was remarkable. A future British Grand Slam champion?

Jodie Williams, 16
Athletics 
Described as a "teen sensation" by UK Athletics, Jodie Williams is a ray of hope for British sprinting. In July, she became the first girl to win both the 100m and 200m titles at the IAAF World Youth Championships, the same feat achieved by 2005 YSPOTY winner Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.  Her 100m winning time of 11.39 seconds made her the fastest female in the country at that point and put her third in the UK senior rankings.

Jake says:  I think this is a teenager who could go all the way in world athletics. Jodie matched what Usain Bolt achieved at the senior world championships by winning both sprints in the youth equivalent - and she's a Brit! I think she could match Bolt again by going all the way at a future Olympic Games.

The top three will be invited to the live event and the other seven contenders will be notified out of courtesy that they have not made the final shortlist.

The winner will be announced live on the Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday 13 December 2009.

 

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