WALES and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale is one of 16 nominees for the BBC’s prestigious Sports Personality of the year award.
The 27-year-old has been recognised for his starring role in Wales’ historic run to the semi-finals of the European Championship.
He scored three goals in the competition after helping his club Real Madrid to a record 11th Champions League triumph.
Last time the Cardiff-born winger was nominated, in 2014, he finished eighth in the public vote.
A win this time would cap the end of a fantastic year for Bale, who has also been nominated for the prestigious Ballon D’or by FIFA.
If Bale triumphs, he would become the fifth Welshman to win the award, following in the footsteps of golfer Dai Rees, who won in 1957, show jumper David Broome (1960), boxer Joe Calzaghe (2007) and footballer Ryan Giggs (2009).
Bale is rated as fifth favourite to win the award by bookmakers, with odds of 33-1. Scottish tennis player Andy Murray is the overwhelming favourite to win for a third time in four years, rated at 1-6.
Surprise Premier League winner Jamie Vardy is the other footballer nominated this year.
The others nominees are: Nicola Adams (boxing); Alistair Brownlee (triathlon); Sophie Christiansen (equestrian); Kadeena Cox (athletics/cycling); Mo Farah (athletics); Jason Kenny (cycling); Laura Kenny (cycling); Andy Murray (Tennis); Adam Peaty (swimmer); Kate Richardson-Walsh (hockey); Nick Skelton (equestrian); Dame Sarah Storey (cycling); Max Whitlock (gymnastics); and Danny Willett (golf).
Nominations for team and coach of the year will be announced shortly.
- This year’s ceremony takes place on Sunday December 18 at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. The public will be able to vote online or by phone on the evening.