27 November 2013

This year’s shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year is an impressive subset of sporting talent. Each of the ten nominees has had the passion and self-belief to take their sport to the next level; to break records and make history. So who will win?

There are some big names on the list and they are all worthy of recognition but, for me, there can only be one winner. If the award is designed for the person who has had the most extraordinary breakthrough then it has to go to Andy Murray.

Whether he’s the strongest personality in terms of warmth or charisma remains to be seen but he has achieved remarkable breakthrough moments in a sport that Britain has struggled to compete in at the highest level.

There is nowhere to hide on the tennis court. As a sport, tennis has always had a sophisticated understanding of the brain, and required people to break through mental barriers. Murray has undoubtedly done this, bolstering Britain’s conviction that, as a nation, we can produce top athletes through the power of belief.

I think this is something that we should be encouraging more of in our schools. Look at all the top athletes. What is it that lit the fire in their belly to start with? I’ve been lucky enough to ask a number of sportspeople that question. Almost all of them explained that it began when someone else – a parent or a coach – inspired them; told them that they could be great at something they started off being good at.

If we keep reinforcing our children’s self-belief then, who knows, they might make their way onto the list themselves one day.

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