Chrissie Wellington, the current world record-holder and Ironman Triathlon champion, was named as the Sportswoman of the Year for 2009 at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards ceremony held at the David Beckham Academy in south-east London.
In front of an audience of more than 250 distinguished guests, including Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, rugby world cup-winner Lawrence Dallaglio and Sunday Times tennis columnist Pat Cash – the 32-year-old was honoured as the leading sportswoman of this year following a four-week Times Online public vote.
It was a stunning triumph for Chrissie, who has dominated the world of triathlon over the past two years, and has incredibly remained unbeaten in her seven competitions at the longer distance.
Former government agency worker, Chrissie was crowned world champion in 2007 and 2008 but this year has been particularly special: she smashed the world record in July with a remarkable performance at the Quelle Challenge Roth in Germany, when she set a time of 8:31.59 to break the mark of Yvonne Van Vlerken by 13 minutes and 49 seconds.
Then, last month, in Hawaii, her amazing season saw further glory when she claimed a hat-trick of world titles in a time of 8:54.02, again in a course record.
Her brilliance in combining the 2.4-mile swim, a 112km-bike ride and a marathon saw Chrissie win this prestigious award today ahead of Jessica Ennis, Britain’s world heptathlon champion in Berlin this summer.
Jessica who is only 23, claimed the world title in the Olympic Stadium – something her idol Denise Lewis never achieved during her illustrious career – and her overall score after two days of competition was just 100 points short of the nine-year-old British record.
Cyclist Victoria Pendleton, won a third successive world sprint title and is the only British Olympic champion to experience success in Poland in March. Victoria was the third woman out of the six-strong shortlist.
John Witherow, the Editor of The Sunday Times, said: “These awards always go well when we have something to shout about and the achievements of our sportswomen this year mean that we are justified in making a great deal of noise.”
Sarah Storey was named disabled sportswoman of the year, and voters handed the team of the year award to England's female cricketers for a second time.
Yachtswoman and motivational speaker, Dee Caffari was awarded the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration
Full list of winners at the 2009 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards:
Team of the Year: England’s women cricket team
CCPR Lifetime Achievement Award: Rachael Heyhoe-Flint
Sport England Community Club Volunteer Award: Cathy Rooney
WSFF Sponsorship of the Year: McDonald’s ‘Mums On The Ball’ campaign
Disabled Sportswoman of the Year: Sarah Storey
Sports Businesswoman Award: Karen Earl
UK Sport Young Sportswoman of the Year: Holly Colvin
The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration: Dee Caffari
PE Teacher of the Year Award: Caroline Sidell (South Bromsgrove High, Worcestershire)
Sports Leader of the Year: Hope Powell
The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2009: Chrissie Wellington
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