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Focus on 11

POSTER GIRL: Ennis

AT THE start of 2011, the Voice of Sport selected 11 sports personalities who we thought would stamp their authority in their respective disciplines this year.

With all eyes now firmly focused on 2012, we take a look at how they prospered last year whilst predicting how they might do this year...


James DeGale
High point: Captured the European title in October.

Low point: Lost his unbeaten record and British title to arch-enemy George Groves via a majority decision in May.

2012 prospects: DeGale returns to the ring against Jose Maria Guerrero on January 27 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool and targets a world title match-up which is a definite possibility.


Jessica Ennis
High point: Recorded personal bests in the 800m, long jump and shot put at the World Championships last summer.

Low point: Threw 39.95m in the javelin at the same event, almost seven metres below her personal best and well short of overall heptathlon winner Tatyana Chernova’s distance of 52.95m.

2012 prospects: The poster girl of British athletics was surprisingly beaten at the World Championships in August but seems to thrive on pressure. Only a fool would write Ennis off.


Phillips Idowu
High point: Maintained a high level of consistency as he achieved two season’s bests of 17.70m and 17.77m at the World Championship triple jump final in Daegu, South Korea in August.

Low point: Unable to retain his World Championship crown thanks to the stunning 17.96m leap of America’s Christian Taylor.

2012 prospects: Idowu still remains a genuine gold medal prospect next year but he faces stiff opposition from the likes of Taylor and Frenchman Teddy Tamgho. If Idowu, 32, is to win gold in 2012 he will most likely have to better his personal best of 17.81m.


Courtney Lawes
High point: Reaching the finals of both the Premiership and the Heineken Cup with Northampton Saints.

Low point: Getting suspended for two games during the World Cup for his knee-first collision with Argentina’s Mario Ledesma.

2012 prospects: With many of the old guard retiring from international duty, the new England management will be looking to the future and 22 year-old Lawes is one of the most talented youngsters in world rugby.


Shanaze Reade
High point: Won gold in the time trial at the BMX World Championships in Copenhagen in July.

Low point: Reade’s pedals jammed in the semi-final of the group race at the BMX World Championships causing her to finish last and unable to defend the title which she won in 2010.

2012 prospects: At just 23, Reade has already dominated the sport of BMX and will be a favourite for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Reade could also feature on the track next year.


Darren Sammy
High point: The discovery of all-rounder Kirk Edwards who announced himself on the world stage in style, becoming only the fourteenth West Indian batsman to score a century on his Test debut against Pakistan.

Low point: Sammy’s West Indies were dismissed for their second-lowest total of 61 in the third and final one-day international against Bangladesh in October.

2012 prospects: More pain! Sammy’s men face England in May and June. Until captain Sammy has the tools for the job, in terms of playing personnel, West Indies face continued defeat.


Alex Scott
High point: Only goalkeeper Karen Bardsley played more minutes on the pitch than Scott at the Women’s World Cup in the summer.

Low point: Knocked out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stages by France in July.

2012 prospects: Scott’s consistency could earn her a place as an over-age player in Team GB’s football squad. The Boston Breakers right-back signed a new contract in November to remain at with the Women’s Professional Soccer club for next year.


Perri Shakes-Drayton
High point: Won a historic 400m and 400m hurdles double at the UK trials in July.

Low point: Missed out on a place in the final of the 400m hurdles at the World Championships by just one hundredth of a second.

2012 prospects: Shakes-Drayton continues to improve each year and a place in the final of the Olympic 400m hurdles is not beyond the talented 22-year-old.


Simon Vallily
High point: Was selected to represent England in the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan in September.

Low point: Eliminated in the last 16 of the same competition.

2012 prospects: The 26-year-old 2010 Commonwealth Games heavyweight gold medallist has had a dismal 2011 and needs to perform at the European qualification tournament in Istanbul in April should he wish to be selected to fight for Britain at the Olympics.

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