New Year Honours: Equestrianism, golf and boxing steal the sporting limelight
Saturday 30 December 2006
Despite the distinct lack of international success for English football, rugby and cricket teams this year, there are many honours awarded for excellence in other, lower profile, sports.
The Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, who was recently voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year, is made an MBE for services to equestrianism. The award crowns a year in which she won gold at the World Equestrian Games and European Championships.
There is also an OBE for Ian Woosnam, who led Europe's golfers to a famous Ryder Cup victory over the USA this year. Woosnam, who had a distinguished career as a player, was captain of the team that thrashed the USA by 18.5 points to 9.5 at the K Club in County Kildare.
In Rugby, Gareth Edwards, the former Welsh scrum-half, is made a CBE. Between 1967 and 1978 he won 53 caps for Wales, including 13 as captain.
While the much-rumoured knighthood for the former England captain David Beckham failed to materialise, two awards recognise the achievements of other footballers. Steven Gerrard, Beckham's former colleague in the English midfield, and Liverpool's inspirational captain, is made an MBE. In 2001 he helped Liverpool to a treble of League Cup, FA Cup and Uefa Cup triumphs. In 2004 the team dramatically won the Champions League, and this year they won the FA Cup.
Faye White, captain of the Arsenal Ladies football team and England, becomes an MBE. She has won over 50 caps, while Arsenal have won the Women's Premier League seven times.
David Davies, the BBC reporter turned football administrator, is appointed an OBE. Formerly the executive director of the FA, he was a supporter of Sven-Goran Eriksson.
There is also an honour for the yachtsman Michael Golding, who turned back to rescue a rival in the solo Five Oceans round-the-world race - he is appointed an OBE. And Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton, seen by many as Britain's most popular boxer since Naseem Hamed, is made an MBE. Hatton is undefeated in 41 fights and has won world championships at welterweight and light welterweight.
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