Alison Nicholas MBE has been handed the The Spirit of Sport Award, recognising fair play and those who inspire, by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain (SJA).
The award was presented in recognition of her incredible achievements as a professional golfer and as an inspirational leader, captaining The 2011 European Solheim Cup team to victory over the United States by a score of15-13 at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland, in September, which she rates as her career best achievement.
“I'm thrilled and deeply honoured in receiving this award. This award is as much about the European Solheim Cup Team's victory at Killeen Castle and their incredible spirit,” said Nicholas, after the ceremony in the opulent surroundings of the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden.
Cyclist Mark Cavendish was named Sportsman of the Year while swimmer Rebecca Adlington scooped Sportswoman of the Year.
Batsman Jonathan Trott received the award for Team of the Year on behalf of the England cricket squad. They beat Europe's Solheim Cup-winning women golfers and world champion rowing pair Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins.
The other award winners included golfer Tom Lewis, who won Best International Newcomer; Peter Norfolk, who won the Bill McGowran Trophy for his achievements as an athlete with a disability in wheelchair tennis; Malcolm Arnold (Dai Greene's coach), won the JL Manning Award for his outstanding contribution to sport. Ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington won the Pat Besford Trophy for exceptional sporting performance, Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson won the SJA Committee Award and England Cricket Coach Andy Flower earned the SJA President's Award.
Alison Nicholas MBE and cyclist Mark Cavendish, named Sportsman of the Year