Josh Kerr, the Scottish runner who won the 1500m gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, has been left out of the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award. The decision has sparked outrage among Scottish athletes, sports journalists and fans, who claim that Kerr has been snubbed by the BBC.
Kerr’s Historic Victory
Kerr, 26, became the first British man to win the 1500m world title since Steve Cram in 1983, when he beat Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen in a thrilling race on August 24. Kerr, who also won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, timed his run perfectly in the final 200m and crossed the line in 3:29.05, setting his best time of the season. He celebrated with his parents in the stands, who had travelled to Hungary to support him.
Kerr said after his victory: “It’s quite an overwhelming experience but I’m so proud of myself, and of my team and my family that got me here. I didn’t feel like I ran the best race. I just threw my whole 16 years in this sport in that last 200m and didn’t give up until the end.”
BBC’s Controversial Shortlist
The BBC announced the six nominees for the SPOTY award on December 12, which are: Emma Raducanu (tennis), Tom Daley (diving), Adam Peaty (swimming), Lauren Price (boxing), Sarah Storey (cycling) and Raheem Sterling (football). The winner will be decided by a public vote on December 19.
While all the nominees have achieved remarkable feats in their respective sports, many have questioned the exclusion of Kerr, who is widely regarded as one of the best middle-distance runners in the world. Scottish Athletics, the governing body for the sport in Scotland, expressed its disappointment on Twitter, saying: “We are extremely proud of Josh Kerr and his achievements this year. He is a world champion, an Olympic medallist and a Scottish record holder. He deserves to be recognised and celebrated by the whole of the UK.”
Several sports journalists and fans also voiced their frustration and disbelief on social media, calling Kerr’s omission a “disgrace”, a “joke” and a “robbery”. Some suggested that Kerr was overlooked because he is Scottish, while others pointed out the inconsistency and bias of the BBC’s criteria for selecting the nominees.
Kerr, who is currently training in the US, has not commented publicly on the SPOTY shortlist. However, he did thank Scottish Athletics and his supporters for their messages of appreciation and congratulations. He also retweeted a post by his Edinburgh Athletics Club teammate Jake Wightman, who wrote: “Josh Kerr is the best 1500m runner in the world. End of discussion.”
Kerr, who was named Scottish sportsperson of the year by sportscotland and Team Scotland in November, has also received praise and recognition from other prominent figures in the athletics world, such as Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Steve Cram. Kerr will have another chance to prove his worth at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, where he will represent Scotland and compete against Ingebrigtsen again.