In the week where he was knighted by The Queen, Sir Mo Farah was honoured again when he was named Male Athlete of the Year as Laura Muir won the women’s title at the British Athletics Writers Association awards on Friday.
The BAWA awards are Britain’s longest-running annual athletics awards – and one of the longest running in Europe –and this year was the 55th occasion that the country’s top athletes have been honoured after the awards were inaugurated in 1963.
The fact that it was the seventh occasion that Farah has topped the poll by the British media, more than any other British athlete – four more than any other man with Jessica Ennis-Hill having taken the female plaudits on six occasions – consolidates the claim to be the country’s greatest ever athlete.
What a 2017 it has been for both Farah and Muir, who celebrated gold on the track as their respective careers took them in different directions.
Farah, 34, won his tenth global title at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 in August when he retained the 10,000m crown, taking that event over 25 laps of the track for the third consecutive time.
It was his final championship as a track runner as he now pursues a career on the roads with the London Marathon in April as his first target.
He topped the voting ahead of world championships 4x100m gold medallist and IAAF Diamond League 100m winner CJ Ujah with relay team-mate Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake third.
Muir, 24, was the one of the stars of the show at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March where she confirmed her brilliant early winter, record-breaking form by winning double gold in the 1500m and 3000m, and taking both titles with championship records.
The Scottish runner was presented with the Female Athlete of the Year Award by the European Athletics Head of Communications James Mulligan.
Veterinary student Muir is looking for more glory in 2018 at the world championships in Birmingham in March and the European Championships in Berlin in August.
Muir said: “It’s exciting to have another home champs at the world indoors.
“I really love racing indoors. But for me, I don’t feel too much pressure for next year. I am completing my final year of studies and that’s my big target. At the same time, I am training really well so I will want to go to the Europeans in Berlin and come home with a medal.”
Muir edged out sprinters Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip, two members of Britain’s 4x100m squad that took silver at the world championships.
Shocked and honoured to receive the British Writers Female Athlete of Year award. It means a lot knowing it is voted upon by the expert athletics press, thank you @BAWA_Athletics and well done to @Mo_Farah for winning the male award
— Laura Muir (@lauramuiruns) November 17, 2017
Medals at the European Athletics U20 Championships in the Italian town of Grosseto in July saw high jumper Tom Gale and sprint hurdler Alicia Barrett win the junior awards.
One of Britain’s greatest athletics heroines, Dame Mary Peters, the 1972 Olympic pentathlon champion, received the Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics.
Now 78, and a former British team manager after her competitive career had finished as well as active sports administrator, Peters was honoured for her work in providing opportunities in supporting talented young sportspeople and the community at large in Northern Ireland.
The BAWA Inspiration Award went to former 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton.
Now focussing on the 400m without the barriers, Shakes-Drayton was part of the 4x400m relay squad which won world championships silver having battled back from surgery of a knee injury which saw her not compete for over two years, from the summer of 2013 to 2016.