Survey lists Mo Farah as people’s choice for BBC Sports Personality of the Year rather than bookies’ favourite, Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua is the bookies favourite for SPOTY 2017

New research* in the run up to this year’s BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award could see the nation’s bookies out of pocket, with over a third (38%) believing that Sir Mo Farah will win among other popular athletes, rather than odds-on favourite Anthony Joshua.

More than 2,000 GB adults were polled last week by the human understanding agency, Walnut Unlimited, ahead of the 63rd gala awards ceremony, which takes place tomorrow (17th December) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Farah is considered most likely to actually win on the night (38%), with Hamilton second favourite to lift the trophy (29%). However, when asked who they would like to win this year’s award out of the 12 athletes shortlisted, amongst those who had a favourite, 29% still thought Sir Mo Farah should be crowned on the night, followed by Lewis Hamilton (14%) and Anthony Joshua (13%).

This is a marked difference to the current bookies’ consensus, which has 28-year-old former Olympic champion Joshua, currently ranked the world’s top heavyweight, as the odds-on 1/6 favourite. Lewis Hamilton is currently listed as second favourite to lift the gong at 7/1, with Sir Mo Farah in third place at 40/1 and Harry Kane in fourth at 50/1. Jonathan Rea is also in the running according to the bookies.

The winner will be selected by the public on the night from a shortlist drawn up based on each individual’s sporting achievements and their impact outside of their sport. The survey also asked the British public about who they would like to see on popular reality TV shows.

Lewis Hamilton was the most popular choice to go on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, with over half (51%) picking him over the other BBC nominees. Sir Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton were joint favourites to appear on Strictly Come Dancing (34%).

Meanwhile, when asked who they would most like to be their personal trainer, Anthony Joshua was the most popular (34% of those who selected a favourite athlete). The survey also discovered that although we may be a nation of sports lovers, many of us struggle to name some of our best-known sporting personalities.

More than half (52%) agreed they wanted more women’s sports to be shown on terrestrial TV – with just 11% disagreeing. 50% believed there should be two Sports Personality of the Year awards, which celebrated the achievements of men and women separately.

Furthermore, almost half (48%) said awards such as the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award encourage people to participate in sport. As a result, 45% agreed there should be more awards celebrating sporting excellence in Britain, with just 14% disagreeing.

Mo Farah has been celebrated by Madame Tussauds Blackpool.

 *Nationally representative omnibus survey of 2,045 adults across GB between 5-8th December undertaken by Walnut Unlimited, part of the Unlimited Group.

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