Two awards on same day for Nicholas

Alison Nicholas, Europe’s winning Solheim Cup captain, was twice honored at award ceremonies on Wednesday.

Alison Nicholas MBE, Europe’s triumphant Solheim Cup captain this year, was twice honored at award ceremonies on Wednesday.

AT a star-studded Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards reception in London on Monday night, she collected the ‘Team of the Year’ award on behalf of the 12-strong European squad that beat the strongly-favoured USA 15-13 at Killeen Castle in County Neath, Ireland, in September,

After the award was presented by Lord (Sebastian) Coe, Nicholas said: “Once again I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of the team as it really was a team effort.”

Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson was named Sportswoman of the Year for 2011 and Cycling’s Lucy Garner won the Young sportswoman of the Year award after a public vote. .

Now in their 24th year, the Sportswomen of the Year Awards are among the most prestigious and influential in the British sporting calendar.

As well as celebrating high-profile female athletes, with previous winners like Margaret Alphonsi, Paula Radcliffe, Pippa Funnell, Denise Lewis, Dame Kelly Holmes and Zara Phillips, the event recognises women at all levels of British sporting life.

Along with Nicholas, the players in the winning European Solheim Cup team comprised Christel Boeljon, Laura Davies, Sandra Gal, Sophie Gustafson, Caroline Hedwall, Maria Hjorth, Catriona Matthew, Azahara Muñoz, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples.

The team’s 7-5 singles score meant it was a fourth victory from 12 contests since the competition’s inception in 1990.

British members of the European Solheim Cup Team will attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in Manchester, on Thursday December 22.

There Nichola’s side has been be short listed for the Team of the Year award, but will face stiff opposition from the England cricket squad.

This was evident earlier on Wednesday, when Nicholas was also handed the The Spirit Sport Award, recognising ‘fair play and those who inspire’, by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain (SJA) at a ceremony in the Grand Connaught Rooms in Convent Garden. .

Batsman Jonathan Trott received the award for Team of the Year on behalf of the England cricket squad at the same ceremony. They beat Europe’s Solheim Cup-winning women golfers and the world champion rowing pair of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins.

Here Nicholas’s award was presented in recognition of her exceptional achievements as a professional golfer and as an inspirational leader following her successful captaincy of the Solheim Cup team.

“I’m thrilled and deeply honoured to be receiving this award, especially as it is as much about the European Solheim Cup Team’s victory at Killeen Castle and their incredible spirit,” said Nicholas,

Cyclist Mark Cavendish was named SJA Sportsman of the Year while swimmer Rebecca Adlington earned Sportswoman of the Year trophy.

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 ‘an exceptional sporting performance’

– Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson, who won the SJA Committee Award and …

– England Cricket Coach Andy Flower who earned the SJA President’s Award.