Dina Asher-Smith was crowned BT Sport’s Action Women of the Year, marking her monumental achievements at the European Athletics Championships where she won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.
The holder of multiple British track records was a heavy favourite to win the prize which celebrates women’s accomplishments in sport throughout the year.
Asher-Smith expressed her shock in winning the award, saying: “To think that I am your Action Women of the Year is just incredible.”
The sprint star, who ended the season at the top of the 100m and 200m world rankings, added: “I never thought I’d be the fastest in the world, it’s crazy, it’s like a dream.”
Footballers Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze were also nominated but were unable to attend the ceremony due to the inaugural Ballon D’or taking place on the same night.
Other nominees included Lizzy Yarnold who celebrated another Olympic gold in the skeleton bobsleigh this year, golfer Georgia Hall, triathlete Vicky Holland, cycling queen Laura Kenny and the Paralympic skiers Jen Kehoe and Menna Fitzpatrick.
The England netball team beat Chelsea FC and Asher-Smith’s teammates from the 4x100m race to win the Team of the Year award after they secured the Commonwealth title in dramatic fashion, literally with the last throw of the game.
Former England striker Michael Owen presented them with the award. As they got a picture together he joked “I’m the mascot” because of his height in comparison to the netballers.
Captain Ama Agbeze said: “We really appreciate the support that we’ve got, and we love inspiring not just women and girls but actually men and boys too. We’re grateful for England Netball and the what they’ve done for us.
“There’s a number of people in the Roses programme that didn’t get to go the Commonwealth Games. As people know, sport is tough and there’s lots of people striving to be there, so these girls are representing not just Roses netballers but netballers [throughout] England, and we just wanted to thank everyone for their support.”
The ceremony was presented by Clare Balding who opened the night by saying: ‘The awards celebrate all that is wonderful about women in sport.”
She led the tributes to Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson who was given the lifetime achievement award, not only her success on the track as a wheelchair racer but for her dedication to charity work and the guiding influence she gives to the next generation of Paralympic athletes.
‘The event was hailed as a great evening for championing women and their sporting exploits’
“Throughout the year there have been countless stand-out team and individual performances with truly astounding women leading the way in sport,” said Balding.
The evening didn’t only celebrate female athletes but also felt women’s achievements in general, with ranking female guests from the RAF in attendance along with many others that work in broadcasting and print journalism.
In the past few years, since BT Sport began purchasing more sports rights in the UK, it has made a concerted effort to aim for more equality in their coverage, not only behind the scenes but also in front of the camera.
Its Saturday afternoon football results show The Score has several female presenters including, Jules Breach, Becky Ives and Reshmin Chowdhury.
Although the main award was a great birthday present for Asher-Smith, who turned 23 this week, the event itself was hailed as a great evening for championing women and their sporting exploits.