Even in this most difficult of sporting years, there is still much to celebrate.
Sport shut down for three months due to coronavirus, but still the sportsmen and women of this great county put uncertainty about being paid, about whether they would get opponents to face or competitions to contest to one side to accomplish their goals.
Some achieved greatness, other rewrote the history books. For a select few, sporting immortality in 2020 was about so much more than mere accolades earned in the heat of battle.
For the 10th successive year, The Yorkshire Post is running its Yorkshire Sports Hero poll, inviting you, the reader, to nominate the sportsman or sportswoman you believe deserves that honour.
Who inspired you this year? Who got you off your seat cheering? Whose daring feat brought a lump to your throat?
The Yorkshire Post sports desk has assembled a shortlist of 10 candidates from which to choose your Sports Hero of 2020.
This is by no means a definitive list and if there is someone else you feel is deserving of recognition, then let us know.
All you have to do to enter is email [email protected] under the subject header ‘YP Sports Hero 2020’ by Wednesday, December 30, 12pm.
The winner will be announced in The Yorkshire Post on Thursday, December 31.
Transformed sleeping giant Leeds United’s fortunes and turned a side that finished the 2017-18 Championship season in 13th place into 2019-20 second-tier champions – ending the club’s 16-year exile from the Premier League.
United’s enlightened and progressive playing style – AKA Bielsaball – has been a breath of fresh air in the top-flight and has brought joy not just to Leeds fans, but countless football lovers.
The Leeds Rhinos legend was diagnosed with motor neurone disease 12 months ago.
By opening up about his condition, the eight-time Grand Final winner has raised awareness of a cruel but relatively unknown disease.
He has shown an incredible attitude in his battle to continually raise awareness and inspire crucial fund-raising towards the treatment and research of the devastating disease.
Has dominated wheelchair sprinting for almost a decade and even in this most truncated of years she only required one weekend to emphasise that going into a Paralympic year she is still the woman to beat.
At Stoke Mandeville in September, ‘Hurricane Hannah’ from Halifax lowered all four of the world records she already owns.
This Doncaster boxer shot to fame in February, winning a professional world boxing title just a few years after working in a chippy, having given up on her fighting career.
She has also successfully defended her titles twice since sport returned in the summer, rubber-stamping a memorable 2020.
The North Yorkshire rider became champion jump jockey this year, having led rival Richard Johnson when the 2019-20 season was curtailed.
In doing so, Hughes became the first Northern-based rider to win the accolade since the legendary Jonjo O’Neill 40 years ago.
Dawid Malan was Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer in the Bob Willis Trophy and finished top of the averages.
He also hit a career-best double century against Derbyshire. Malan’s first season in a Yorkshire shirt could hardly have gone much better.
Oh, and he also climbed to the top of the world T20 batting rankings while on duty with England. Impressive.
The Castleford Tigers player won the Steve Prescott Man of Steel as Super League’s best player and the unassuming hooker’s brilliant performances for a team that struggled for so long epitomises what the award should really be about.
He was Super League’s most consistent performer in a season badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 21-year-old Leeds cyclist has had an outstanding year, finishing first in the under-23 Giro d’Italia, when he also won two stages and being top British finisher in the elite world championship road race.
Runner-up at the cyclo-cross world championships in February, he claimed his first senior victory in that branch of the sport when he won this month’s Superprestige Gavere.
He will join road racing’s elite World Tour next year, with Ineos Grenadiers, but continue to ride cyclo-cross and mountain bike to develop his skills. British cycling’s next big thing.
As director of rugby, Sinfield played a key role in Leeds Rhinos’ Super League revival and Challenge Cup success.
More impressively, by running seven marathons in successive days he raised more than £2.5m for the battle against motor neurone disease and to support former team-mate Rob Burrow.
Sinfield is a former winner of The Yorkshire Post’s annual search for a Sports Hero.
Simon Weaver led Harrogate Town to the English Football League for the first time in their history as they beat Notts County 3–1 in the National League play-off final at Wembley.
The Sheffield-born manager has been with Harrogate for over a decade, steadily guiding them through the divisions to unprecedented heights.
So there you have it, our 10 nominees. Cast your vote at yepsportcompeti[email protected] by 12pm on Wednesday, December 30, and we will reveal the winner in The Yorkshire Post on Thursday, December 31.
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