WINNER: Jessica Ennis
JESSICA ENNIS has received many plaudits and awards for her magical success at London 2012, but the vast majority of these have been from experts. The Sheffield athlete has now added to her collection by winning the William Hill Sportswoman of the Year crown for 2012.
William Hill initiated their Sportswoman of the Year in 2011, when top jockey Hayley Turner landed the inaugural prize.
This time around, the William Hill short-list was decided by William Hill followers on Facebook. With almost 500,000 people following William Hill, this gave a genuinely representative short-list of top women in sport.
The short-list was then presented to the public vote online and via the 2,370 shops in the UK. The vote closed on December 2 and Ennis was the unanimous winner. In total over 25,000 votes were collected and the Team GB athlete got more than 45 per cent of the public vote.
“The William Hill Sportswoman of the Year worked wonderfully well in its first year in 2011 and we have managed to build on that success this time around with a truly spectacular short-list, thanks to our brilliant Olympic success.
"This award stands out from most of the others as it is purely down to the public to decide who is the best. It will be interesting now to see how Jessica does in the BBC Sports Personality later in the month.” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
William Hill will present Ennis with a special trophy, and she will receive a VIP trip to the William Hill King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, plus a £1,000 free bet on the big race.
The William Hill award was introduced in 2011 to celebrate female achievement in sport in a year when the BBC did not include a single female sportsperson in their shortlist of ten.
The bookmakers' customers got right behind the award and after 46,662 votes were counted Turner was crowned the victor with 11,135 votes, just 165 ahead of Ennis.