THE NEW YEAR HONOURS: On a winning streak

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Jonathan Edwards, Britain's world champion triple-jumper, is probably best known as the man who preferred to miss a world championship and two European Cup competitions because of his commitment to Christianity.

But this year, Edwards reversed his decision, and the son of a Devon vicar became the first man to break the 18-metres barrier at this year's world championships.

"I'm thrilled - it's a great honour," said Edwards, who is appointed MBE and who was also voted the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.

"Outside actual athletics, this achievement, along with winning the BBC award, has been one of my dreams. Now it has come true and I have got both of them, it is just incredible. It is a fabulous end to what has been a fantastic year for me."

Police colleagues of Constable Dean Richards, the Leicester and England rugby union forward, may be surprised to know that he too will receive an MBE. They have been known to say that when he walks into a rowdy bar on duty he has the same quietening effect as a Wild West gunslinger.

On the pitch, his influence is not dissimilar. Although he was suspended two months ago after receiving yellow cards for stamping and punching, Richards, 32, was the leading force in Leicester's battle to gain this year's Courage League title. "I am just an ordinary bloke, sitting in a corner getting on with my life," the world's most capped back-row forward once insisted.

Also honoured with MBEs are the most-capped scrum-half, Robert Jones of Swansea, and the footballer Ian Rush, who has scored a record 343 goals in 646 league and cup appearances for Liverpool.

Shaun Edwards, the Great Britain and Wigan rugby league captain this year, becomes only the third rugby league player to have been appointed OBE, following Mal Reilly (1991) and Garry Schofield (1994). The only player to have figured in all 42 of Wigan's record run of unbeaten Challenge Cup ties, Edwards, 29, also boasts 15 tries in 36 Test appearances. This year's victorious Ryder Cup golf team are also celebrated, with an OBE for their captain, Bernard Gallacher. He is joined by the cricketer Dermot Reeve, captain of Warwickshire, who has overseen victory in six major trophies since becoming captain in 1993.

Sportswomen are also represented, with Karen Dixon, Britain's leading three-day event rider, receiving an MBE. And Even commentators are not left out. Ted Lowe, the whispering voice of snooker, is also honoured with an MBE.

Jonathan Edwards

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