Beth Mead delighted with how far women's sport has come and wants to keep pushing to make it better

England footballer Beth Mead urged everyone involved in women’s sport to “keep pushing” after she claimed the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 27-year-old Arsenal forward was rewarded for her starring role in the Lionesses' Euro 2022 triumph by coming top in the public poll for the prestigious award ahead of England Test cricket captain Ben Stokes and Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead.

Mead scored six goals to win the Golden Boot at the Euros on home turf and was also selected as the player of the tournament.

Mead, currently sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament injury which has placed her participation in next year's World Cup in doubt, said: "I'm incredibly honoured to win this award.

"I wouldn't have done it without those girls over there and the team that have backed me. Yes, I've got this accolade, I did my job, I scored a few goals but I wouldn't have done it without them.

"And I certainly wouldn't have done it without my mum, my dad and all my family. But most of all, this is for women's sport, and for women's sport heading in the right direction. So let's keep pushing girls, and let's keep doing the right thing."

Mead became the 13th woman to win the award individually, with Jayne Torvill also winning it alongside ice dance partner Christopher Dean in 1984.

Mead's success capped a successful night for the Lionesses. The squad won the Team of the Year award and Coach of the Year went to their Dutch leader Sarina Wiegman.

Jill Scott, who was part of the triumphant England squad alongside Mead in the summer, said the team's biggest achievement was in raising the profile of the women's game and encouraging more girls to get involved.

Scott said: "The thought that this Christmas there will be little girls asking for a pair of football boots and embarking on their own journey, and it'll be classed as normal, that'll make us the happiest."

The Football Association announced earlier on Wednesday that there had been a 12.5 per cent increase in female players registered from September 2022 to December 2022.

Argentina's World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi had been named World Sport Star of the Year on Monday, with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt having been chosen as this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rob Burrow was the recipient of the Helen Rollason Award for his work in raising awareness of motor neurone disease, a condition he was diagnosed with in 2019.

He received the award alongside his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Kevin Sinfield, who has raised more than £7million for MND research and awareness.

Jessica Gadirova claimed the Young Sports Personality of the Year prize after she won floor gold at the World Gymnastics Championships earlier this year.

The 18-year-old was also part of the GB team which won silver at the same event, where she also claimed all-around bronze. She won the Young Personality award ahead of skateboarder Sky Brown and diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.

Mike Alden, who was diagnosed with brittle bone disease at the age of four but went on to play football and now coaches in Bristol, won the Unsung Hero award.

Latest news