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Sir Mo Farah and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill recognised in New Year HonoursDecember 30, 2016
Rio 2016 medallists among those honoured for their athletics achievements, while Sir Roger Bannister is made a companion of honour
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah has received a knighthood and heptathlon star Jessica Ennis-Hill has become a Dame in the 2017 New Year Honours list, while Sir Roger Bannister has been made a companion of honour.
Bannister, who in 1954 became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes and is also a celebrated neurologist, receives his award for services to sport.
Both Farah and Ennis-Hill receive their honours for services to athletics.
Farah, who had been made a CBE in 2013, successfully defended both his 5000m and 10,000m titles at the Rio Olympics, completing a distance ‘double double’ to take his haul of global golds to nine overall.
Only one other man – Finland’s Lasse Viren – has successfully defended both titles, having done so at the Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976 Olympics.
The 33-year-old Farah also ran the quickest 5000m in the world this year, broke the British 3000m record, claimed world half-marathon bronze and won the Great North Run for a third consecutive year.
“I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight,” said Farah. “Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today – it’s a dream come true.
“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career. My successes have only been possible because of their support and the commitment, sacrifices and love of my amazing family and the team around me now and over the years.”
Ennis-Hill, meanwhile, has also received further recognition after having been made an MBE in the 2011 Birthday Honours list before being awarded a CBE in the 2013 New Year Honours.
In what would turn out to be her final competitive season ahead of retirement, the 30-year-old overcame an Achilles injury to claim heptathlon silver in Rio to go with her gold from London 2012.
The British record-holder is also set to have a third world title added to her name after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last month that Russia’s Tatyana Chernova be stripped of her 2011 gold for doping offences.
Commenting on Twitter, Ennis-Hill wrote: “Dame… truly truly honoured!”
Every Rio Games gold medallist who had not already been named in previous honours lists has received recognition in the 2017 New Year Honours. Those receiving MBEs from the sport of athletics are Paralympic gold medallists Hollie Arnold, Paul Blake, Jo Butterfield, Libby Clegg and her running guide Chris Clarke, Kadeena Cox, Sophie Hahn and Georgie Hermitage.
Fundraiser Claire Lomas, who was paralysed in a riding accident in 2007 but completed the Great North Run half-marathon over five days, raising more than £10,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation in the process, also becomes an MBE for charitable and voluntary services to spinal injury research.
Honours have also been awarded to John Allen for services to athletics in Northern Ireland, plus Dromore Athletics Club coach Michael Francis McGreevy for services to sport and the community in Doremore. Hugely successful masters athlete Angela Copson has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to running.
The full 2017 New Year Honours list can be found here.
Meanwhile, shot put star Valerie Adams has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics, with the two-time Olympic gold medallist becoming the youngest New Zealander to receive such an honour. Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallists Liam Malone and Anna Grimaldi are to become Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.