This year’s winner of the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Award for Team of the Year (which was decided by public vote) is the World Cup winning English Women’s Rugby team.
After disappointing final losses to New Zealand in 2006 and 2010, Katy McLean’s team beat Canada by 21-9 to win the 2014 World Cup in Paris. It was only the second time England has won the World Cup (the last time was in 1994). England’s side – many of whom took unpaid leave from their regular jobs to play in the tournament – lifted the World Cup in front of a crowd close to the 22,000 capacity of the Stade Jean-Bouin.
The Award was presented by Sir Clive Edwards.
The other nominees for the Team of the Year award were:
Charlotte Edwards’ England Cricket team who had another exceptional year in which they retained the Ashes with a 10-8 victory over Australia before finishing runners-up in the World T20 and recording series wins over India and South Africa this summer.
The Great Britain 4 x 100 athletics relay squad who became European athletics champions and rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who devastated the coxless pairs field at the World Championships this August.
The quality of the opposition must make this award particularly special for the Rugby players.
The other awards presented were:
Young Sportswoman of the Year – won by gymnast Claudia Fragapane who won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. The award was presented by World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi.
Disability Sportswoman of the Year – swimmer Stephanie Slater, star of IPC European Swimming Championships winning seven gold medals in seven days in Eindhoven. The award was presented by Sally Gunnell.
Community Award – won by Sue Frett – founder of the Surrey Branch of Special Olympics Great Britain, an organisation that provides sports training and competition in a variety of sports for people with learning disabilities.
The Helen Rollason award for Inspiration went to Mel Woodards – Chairman of Milton Nomads Junior FC in Somerset. Over the past years Woodards, from Weston-super-Mare has used volunteering as a way for her and her two children (son 13 and daughter 7) to over domestic violence. She helped set up a local league and now 900 children take part in football within her community. The award was presented by Ledley King.
Lifetime Achievement Award – won by Louise Martin – Vice Chair of Organising Committee for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Born in Dunfermline Martin (née Campbell) has had long on-going association with the Commonwealths as a competitor (10 year career as international swimmer) team manager and administrator. She was re-elected for a fourth term as Commonwealth Games Federation Honorary Secretary, she was the first woman to hold a position on their Executive Board. And she was also a member of the Commonwealth Advisory Board on Sport and the Board of UK Sport.
Sportswoman of the Year: awarded to Charlotte Dujardin – double Olympic Champion, the 29 year old won two individual gold medals (special/freestyle dressage), and team silver at the summer’s World Equestrian Games in Caen, France. Dujardin holds freestyle and Special titles at Olympic, European and World level. She was also victorious at dressage World Cup finals in Lyon.
In third place was Jo Pavey and in second place Lizzy Yarnold.
The Awards, in their 27th year, celebrate the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite performers, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational female figures.
Photo courtesy of Rugbymatters.net