August 17, 2022

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Emma Raducanu has tested positive for Covid-19, on the same day she was confirmed as...

Emma Raducanu has tested positive for Covid-19, on the same day she was confirmed as overwhelming favourite to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.
In a year of spectacular British sporting success, Raducanu is odds-on with bookmakers after she was named on a six-person Spoty shortlist. But a positive Covid result means the teenager, who went through qualifying to win the US Open without dropping a set, must now isolate in Abu Dhabi where she had been hoping to take part in the Mubadala exhibition tournament this week.

Raducanu was joined on the shortlist by Raheem Sterling, Tom Daley, Dame Sarah Storey and Adam Peaty. There was also a place for Tyson Fury who had warned the national broadcaster last week that they would “hear from my solicitors” if he was nominated. But Lewis Hamilton, the 2020 winner, missed out on the shortlist just 24 hours after controversially being denied an eighth Formula One championship at the last.
The BBC said it had not been expecting Raducanu to attend the event this Sunday, given her playing commitments, but any attempts to create a bespoke presentation for the teenager – such as when Martina Navratilova presented Andy Murray with the award in 2013 – will now have to be dropped. The broadcaster has already been forced to scale down plans for the event, cancelling a studio audience of sporting luminaries and restricting access to people only directly involved in the TV production.
Raducanu confirmed her test result on Monday afternoon and will now have to isolate for 10 days, giving her little more than a week to prepare for the new tennis season. “I was very much looking forward to playing in front of the fans here in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately after testing positive for Covid-19, I will have to postpone until the next opportunity,” she said. “I’m isolating as per rules and hopefully will be able to get back on court soon.”
If Raducanu, as expected, is chosen by the public during a live vote on Sunday, she will become the first woman since Zara Phillips in 2006 to win the BBC award.
Another nominee not expected in Salford’s Media City this weekend is Fury. The heavyweight world champion spoke out against the award last week, telling the Telegraph: “It means nothing to me and I don’t need it or want it … they will hear from my solicitors if they do put me on the list.” Fury’s antipathy towards the award is long-standing, going back to 2015 when a series of offensive remarks made by the boxer came to light and there was a public clamour to remove him from the shortlist.
The BBC kept him on the list that year, and could hardly ignore Fury in 2021 after a unique combination of finesse, endurance and brutality gave him victory against Deontay Wilder in an all-time great title fight in October.
It is a mark of the strength of this year’s field that the star of a historic footballing achievement and the heroes an Olympic and Paralympic year are outsiders for the prize. Sterling is nominated for a second time in his career after becoming the leading light in England’s charge to a first major football final since 1966 at the European Championship. He will also miss the event because of Manchester City’s Premier League fixture in Newcastle.
Daley is the bookies’ second favourite after winning his first Olympic gold at his fourth Games and speaking powerfully about his experience as a trailblazer for LGBTQ visibility in sport. Storey, meanwhile, became the most successful British Paralympian of all time in Tokyo in September, winning four more gold medals in dominant style to take her total to 17 across two disciplines and 29 years of competition. Peaty retained his Olympic title in the 100m breaststroke, a first in British swimming, then helped to set a world record as Team GB won gold in the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

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