Sports Personality of the Year contenders battle it out for 2015 award


Twelve of the biggest names in sport will go head to head for the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 award, which will be revealed during a live show in Belfast tonight.

Some 7,500 people are expected to pack into the SSE Arena for the star-studded ceremony.

Among the favourites to take the title are tennis star Andy Murray, 28, who helped make history by guiding Great Britain to their first Davis Cup victory for almost 80 years, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, 29, who won her second world title in Beijing in August, just months after giving birth.

Others in the running include "king of the long jump" Greg Rutherford, who took gold at the World Championships, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, world road race cycling champion Lizzie Armitstead and runner Mo Farah, who also enjoyed success in Beijing, winning his third successive 5,000m world gold medal.

However, the inclusion on the shortlist of world heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury has sparked a major outcry.

Controversial comments he made allegedly equating homosexuality with paedophilia, joking about being violent to women, and saying a woman's "best place is on her back" have prompted gay and equal rights campaigners to mount protests outside the SSE Arena ahead of the main event.

It is the first time the event has been staged in Northern Ireland.

The awards are being hosted by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan.

Last year the ceremony took place in Glasgow, when Hamilton took the crown, with golfer Rory McIlroy in second place and athlete Jo Pavey in third.