Emma Finucane crowned BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality for 2023
Track cyclist Emma Finucane has been named the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year for 2023.
The last 12 months has been a breakthrough year as she took all four women’s sprint titles at the National Track Championships, followed by her first individual Track Nations Cup win in the sprint.
After winning two silver medals at the European Championships, the highlight of her career so far came in August with her first world title at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, becoming only the third ever British female sprint world champion, and the youngest at just 20 years old.
Emma, from Carmarthen, started riding when she was eight years old, with her younger sister Rosie at Towy Riders.
After being spotted by the Great Britain Cycling Team, she joined the academy programme in 2018, becoming a junior European champion a year later.
Reacting to winning the award, Emma said: “This is surreal! I really appreciate that people have appreciated what I’ve done. It’s nice to have a nation behind me, supporting me. We are quite a small country but to have that passion behind us and to have them on my sleeve as well is really important.”
The award was decided by an expert panel of judges, chaired by Paralympic great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has won the award herself three times. The panel also included Leshia Hawkins (CEO, Cricket Wales), Laura Kenyon (Assistant Editor, BBC Cymru Wales Sport), Owen Lewis (Director, Sport System, Sport Wales), Sue Butler (Managing Editor, BBC Cymru Wales Sport), Professor Katie Thirlaway (Dean of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Wales netball and football international Nia Jones.
Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “She has had amazing performances this year, especially for someone so young. Her individual performances are amazing, and when you look back at the history of women’s cycling in the UK, she’s got a huge amount to look up to. And when you look at the impact a small nation like Wales has to this sport, it’s brilliant.”
Other sports star who were in the running for the prize included Wales football international Sophie Ingle, swimmer Matt Richards, Paralympian Aled Sion Davies, darts player Gerwyn Price and two boxers – Lauren Price and IBF super-featherweight World Champion Joe Cordina.
Previous winner of the prize include para-athlete Olivia Breen, who won the award last year, Wales rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones, Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones, boxer Joe Calzaghe, Wales footballer Gareth Bale and cyclist Geraint Thomas, who presented the award to Emma via a video.
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