New Years Honours: Sport - Racing team leader wins a knighthood

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The Independent Online
FRANK WILLIAMS, the wheelchair-bound head of the Williams Formula One racing empire, could be forgiven for thinking the timing is out.

His knighthood in the New Year honours list comes after one of his least successful seasons since founding Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd in 1977. For once, Sir Frank, 58, failed to win a Grand Prix and finished only third in the constructors' championship during 1998.

But although it may have come late, it is a deserved reward for a determined man. His team has won nine constructors' titles, more than any other, and seven drivers' world championships - the last in 1997.

Both the outspoken Prince Naseem Hamed and Brendan Ingle, the trainer with whom he he parted company this year after a bout of verbal fisticuffs, are appointed MBE.

Prince Naseem, the World Boxing Organisation's featherweight champion, was honoured for his record of 31 wins in 31 fights, including 28 knockouts, while Mr Ingle's award was for services to disadvantaged young people and to boxing.

Services above and beyond the call of duty could be the inscription on the insignia of the MBE of the England cricketer Angus Fraser. He took 54 Test wickets this year and helped to beat South Africa as England achieved their first five-Test series victory in 12 years. Others to be appointed MBE include the former England football captain Stuart Pearce, who plays for Newcastle United; Trevor Brooking, the pundit and former England player; and Jimmy White, regarded as one of the most popular snooker players of his generation.

The athlete Denise Lewis, 26, who won Commonwealth and European titles this season and is already clear favourite for the Olympic heptathlon title in Sydney in two years' time, is rewarded by being appointed MBE, as is the National Hunt trainer Capt Tim Forster, who retired this year after an illustrious 35-year career, which included winning the Grand National three times.