Pippa Funnell has been named BT Sport Action Woman of the Year after a sensational 12 months which saw the equestrian return to winning ways after 14 years. Winning the Burghley Horse Trials and a team silver at the European Championships was a huge testament to the 50-year-old’s dedication and perseverance.
Funnell fought off competition from a shortlist of eight women to win the public vote and received her award from Maro Itoje, at the ceremony hosted by Clare Balding broadcast live on BT Sport.
The Solheim Cup golf team walked away with the Team of the Year award after captain Catriona Matthew lead her team to victory against the Americans in September. Europe won the last three singles matches to seal a sensational 14½-13½ Solheim Cup win at Gleneagles. Ama Agbeze, England netballer, whose team won the award last year, presented the award to round off a momentous year for the team and the sport.
Former British swimmer Mel Marshall received the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognise her commitment to coaching and her achievements in swimming. After winning numerous medals, including six at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Marshall traded her swimming cap for a coaching hat and started working with a young swimmer by the name of Adam Peaty – and the pair became unstoppable, winning 16 European Golds, 8 World Championship Golds, 2 World Records and an Olympic title. Mel has also worked with many other swimmers and steered Team GB’s Men’s 4 x 100m medley relay team to gold.
This year, skateboarder Sky Brown has been named the Rising Star. At just 11 years old, Brown is already the world’s youngest professional skateboarder, and hopes to become Britain’s youngest summer Olympian, representing Team GB in Tokyo next year.
BT Sport presenter Clare Balding, said: “The BT Sport Action Woman Awards is one of the highlights of the year for celebrating the fantastic achievements of women in sport, and what a year it’s been. There are so many women leading the way in sport and it is great to come together to highlight the countless standout team and individual performances. I’ve seen the interest in women’s sport increase rapidly which is testimony to those involved who continue to put women’s sport at the forefront of the agenda, and it’s great to see that interest backed up by the number of people who have got involved and voted in this year’s awards. At BT Sport we’re proud to support and recognise so many amazing women in sport, and we’re looking forward to another standout year in 2020.”