- Tyson Fury, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Andy Murray were among the candidates for Sports Personality of the Year
- Murray was favourite to win the main award in Belfast after helping Great Britain to Davis Cup tennis success
- The British No 1 tennis star beat rugby league player Kevin Sinfield and Ennis-Hill to win at the SSE Arena, Belfast
- Murray thanked his Davis Cup team-mates as he collected his award from Barry McGuigan and Dan Carter
- Fury came fourth with 72,330 votes, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Chris Froome, Mo Farah and more
- See the latest news from Andy Murray as he wins Sports Personality of the Year at www.dailymail.co.uk/murray
Fortunately for the BBC, the public were rather more impressed with Andy Murray than the sports personality of the year was with Tyson Fury.
While 360,000 people thought Murray most deserving for his role in that remarkable Davis Cup triumph, the man receiving the award for a second time here in Belfast seemed to think Fury would have been every bit as worthy.
Fury finished a distant fourth, his deeply offensive remarks about homosexuals and women clearly overshadowing the scale of the achievement in defeating Wladimir Klitschko to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
Andy Murray holds the Sports Personality of the Year 2015 trophy above his head after receiving the most votes from the British public
Murray speaks to the audience after picking up his second Sports Personality of the Year award at a lavish ceremony in Belfast
Second-placed Kevin Sinfield (left) and third-placed Jessica Ennis-Hill (right) pose for a photo with Sports Personality winner Murray
Murray (centre) shakes the hand of Leeds Rhinos’ rugby league player Sinfield (left), who finished second behind the British No 1
Murray also shared a kiss with athlete Ennis-Hill (left) who finished third place behind Sinfield and Murray on a successful night for sport
Murray (pictured on the red carpet before the start of the ceremony in Northern Ireland) was joined by his Davis Cup team-mates
Jamie Murray, Kyle Edmund, Daniel Evans, coach Leon Smith, James Ward, Andy Murray and Dominic Inglot (l-r) pose on the red carpet
WHO WON WHAT AT SPOTY 2015?
SPOTY 2015 winner: Andy Murray
Lifetime Achievement: AP McCoy
Team of the Year: GB Davis Cup winners
Coach of the Year: Michael O’Neill
Overseas SPOTY: Dan Carter
Young Personality of the Year: Ellie Downie
Helen Rollason award: Bailey Matthews
Unsung Hero award: Damien Lindsay
Murray remains impressed and afterwards he even cut Fury a bit of slack for the controversy he has caused these past few weeks.
‘Not everyone has to agree with what he said but I do believe that he has the right to say it,’ said Murray. ‘That’s freedom of speech and people have the right to disagree with what he says as well. But his achievements — winning against Klitschko in Germany on points is almost impossible and hardly anyone gave him a chance of winning. He proved a lot of people wrong.
‘I honestly didn’t expect to win because there have been so many great performances this year. I am a big boxing fan. I know what Tyson Fury did. It was an incredible achievement.’
Murray noted Jessica Ennis-Hill’s achievement too, and rightly so given the fact that she took world heptathlon gold only 13 months after giving birth to her son.
Fury managed to make reference to Ennis-Hill in some of his more derogatory comments about women but he finally had the wit on Sunday night to say sorry even if it could have been more sincere. Ennis-Hill, third in the voting behind rugby league’s Kevin Sinfield, nevertheless accepted it. ‘Yes, it was good of him to get up and apologise,’ she said.
Tyson Fury, who has courted controversy following his boxing win over Wladimir Klitschko, arrives on the red carpet at the SSE Arena
Boxer Fury (left, and right alongside his father John) was interviewed by Gary Lineker on the stage, apologising ‘if I hurt anyone’
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender supporters protest at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards at the inclusion of Fury
Bailey Matthews, a junior triathlete with cerebral palsy, won the Helen Rollason award at the Sports Personality of the Year 2015 awards
Winner of the Young Sports Personality of the Year Ellie Downie, an artistic gymnast, poses with her award after collecting it on stage
Jockey AP McCoy won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony in Belfast, noting: ‘make the sacrifices, it’s worth it’
There were jeers in the crowd for Fury when his pre-recorded interview finished but by the end of his live interview with Gary Lineker there was some warm applause.
To the relief of the BBC there were only injuries, no more insults. Lineker cut himself rather badly on the main award but Fury avoided further controversy by not only saying sorry but also allowing his wife to be here when he had suggested she was at home, ‘handcuffed to the bed’.
Fury was joking, of course, during the radio interview he gave yesterday morning, but those anxious BBC bosses will be grateful he did not sink them in Belfast’s Titanic quarter with anything derogatory or too risque.
Lineker did well when his own colleagues had refused to interview him and fellow presenter Gabby Logan had said she would be disappointed if Fury won. ‘Shall we start with the fight?’ said Lineker, who then overcame the fact that Fury was slow to grasp that he was being asked a specific question about his comments.
Presenter Gary Lineker (pictured right alongside co-host Clare Balding) cut his left hand on the trophy just seconds into the ceremony
Co-presenter Gabby Logan (left) interviews Ennis-Hill on the stage during the ceremony; she was second favourite to win SPOTY
Ennis-Hill (left) speaks to her partner Andy Hill from their seats at the SSE Arena in Belfast during the awards ceremony on Sunday night
Sinfield, the Leeds Rhinos’ rugby league player nominated for the first time, speaks to Balding in front of his team-mates on stage
Lewis Hamilton, the 2014 Sports Personality of the Year winner, speaks to Lineker via a video link as he was unable to attend the event
Michael O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s football team manager, received a rousing cheer from his home crowd after winning Coach of the Year
LAST 10 SPOTY WINNERS
2005 – Andrew Flintoff (Cricket)
2006 – Zara Phillips (Eventing)
2007 – Joe Calzaghe (Boxing)
2008 – Sir Chris Hoy (Cycling)
2009 – Ryan Giggs (Football)
2010 – AP McCoy (Horse racing)
2011 – Mark Cavendish (Cycling)
2012 – Sir Bradley Wiggins (Cycling)
2013 – Andy Murray (Tennis)
2014 – Lewis Hamilton (Formula One)
2015 – Andy Murray (Tennis)
Referring to himself at one stage in the third person, Fury said : ‘I’ve said a lot of stuff in the past and none of it is with the intention to hurt anybody. It is all tongue in cheek and a bit of fun and games for me. If I have said anything in the past that has hurt anybody, I apologise to anybody that has been hurt. It has not been my intention to do that.’
A quick glance at a straight-faced Greg Rutherford, only here after being persuaded by the BBC not to pull out, suggested he remained unimpressed but ultimately the public gave their verdict on Fury.
Some might question the quality of the opposition in the Davis Cup but his dedication to the cause, his desire to assist his team-mates in winning the competition for the first time in 79 years, swung the voting towards Murray. ‘A friend sent me a newspaper article saying I was duller than a wet weekend in Worthing; that’s pretty harsh on Worthing,’ joked Murray with that trademark deadpan delivery. The man is a credit to his sport.
Ennis-Hill did perhaps deserve better. ‘I definitely did worry about how I would physically come back from having a baby,’ she said. ‘I had quite a few doubts.’
Max Whitlock, Britain’s first male gymnastics world champion, stunned the audience with an impressive breakdance routine on a grand piano while wearing a suit.
But nobody stole the show quite like Bailey Matthews, the eight-year-old receiving the Helen Rollason award for completing a triathlon despite suffering from cerebral palsy. An amazing achievement and a delightful young man.
Greg Rutherford (left) paid tribute to his baby son and family as he spoke to Logan on the stage during the SPOTY ceremony in Belfast
MURRAY QUICK TO LAUGH AT HIMSELF AFTER SPORTSMAIL PIECE
Andy Murray proved he does have a sense of humour when his first act upon receiving his SPOTY award was to poke fun at himself in reference to Michael Henderson’s preview article in Sportsmail last week, when he compared the personality of the British No 1 to a week in Worthing.
Upon collecting his award on Sunday night, Murray said: ‘Thank you very much. I didn’t expect this, a friend sent me a message the other day with an article saying ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’, which I thought was a bit harsh – on Worthing!’
Another nominee, swimmer Adam Peaty, speaks to Balding during his interview on the stage at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Cyclist Lizzie Armitstead wore a blue, red and black dress for the event; she is pictured posing for photographers on the red carpet
Lucy Bronze (right) is the first womens’ footballer nominated for the prize; she is pictured on stage alongside her England team-mates
Karen Carney, Laura Bassett, Fara Williams, Alex Greenwood, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Eniola Aluko, Steph Houghton and Bronze (l-r) pose
Gymnast Max Whitlock, one of the 12 nominees on Sunday night, put on a show for the Belfast crowd ahead of his interview on stage
New Zealand rugby legend Carter spoke to the crowd in Belfast after picking up the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award
One of the biggest cheers of the night came for Belfast football coach Damien Lindsay, who won the Unsung Hero Award for 2015
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