Pavey delights as her glory is honoured

Pavey delights as her glory is honoured
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Jo Pavey's gold medal on opening night of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich was one of the most memorable stories of the week.

It has been the finest year of Jo Pavey’s career and now she is celebrating further recognition.

The British distance runner, who at the age of 40 won 10,000m gold at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August, was beaming after finishing third in the Sunday Times/Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year Awards.

Pavey, who has no plans to retire and is eyeing the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, said: “I cannot believe this. I am so shocked. I am honoured just to be nominated."

And if the celebrations for her third place were not enough, on Friday Pavey won the Cliff Temple Award as Female Athlete of the Year at the British Athletics Writers’ Association’s 52nd annual awards in London.

The John Rodda Award for top male athlete was won by Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, who had a brilliant summer by breaking the British record with 8.51m, which remains the best jump in the world in 2014, before his double glory at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and European Championships in Zurich.

Greg Rutherford soaring to long jump gold in Zurich.
Greg Rutherford soaring to long jump gold in Zurich.

Pavey, who turned 41 in September, has remained one of the great servants of the British team but until the past few years it seemed her best success would be the silver she won in the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

But then, in 2012, she finished second in the 10,000m at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, a springboard towards what has been an amazing summer.

First she won bronze over 5000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before her golden, glorious moment in Zurich.

Pavey timed her run to perfection as she won the 10,000m in 32:22.29 from the French pair of Clemence Calvin, second in 32:23.58 and Laila Travy, third in 32:26.03.

Women's 10,000m podium from Zurich
Women's 10,000m podium from Zurich

It suddenly gave Pavey the status which led to her being among the nominees for this award.

She said at the ceremony in London: "In this room are many remarkable women and role models. There has been lots of banter about me being 41 years old but it's all good fun and keeps me young."

Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin was named Sportswoman of the Year with Winter Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold in second.