Ovation for teen racer who is driving again after double amputation

Sport stands for brave Billy: Motor racer, 19, who lost both legs in horror crash last year gets standing ovation as he WALKS to stage to collect special Sports Personality of the Year award

  • Billy Monger, 19, won tonight’s Helen Rollason award for triumph over adversity
  • He had both legs amputated at 17 following a horror Formula 4 crash last year
  • He has already returned to racing and finished third in 2018’s Formula 3 rankings
  • Comes as BBC announce contenders for SPOTY prize: Harry Kane, Dina Asher-Smith, James Anderson, Geraint Thomas, Lewis Hamilton and Lizzy Yarnold 

Fifteen thousand teary-eyed sports stars and sports fans rose to their feet as oe tonight to applaud the bravery of a tenacious young racing driver.

Billy Monger received a rapturous standing ovation from the Genting Arena of Birmingham’s NEC at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards, has he walked on the stage to pick up the first accolade of the evening.

He made his own way up to pick up the Helen Rollason award despite having had both his legs amputated last April following an horrific crash when he was just 17.

Despite surviving the smash at Donington Park in April 2017, his life-saving surgeries cost him his legs and ended his dreams of being a Formula 1 world champion. 

Billy has already mastered his prosthetic limbs and walked unaided at tonight’s BC event 

The audience in Birmingham and the presenters on stage all came to their feet to applaud the young man’s bravery

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Incredibly though, the young man fought back bravely and was able to make a return to the sport with awe-inspiring speed, becoming a Formula 3 driver and finishing third in this year’s championships.

After his crash last year, Monger was stuck in his vehicle for 90 minutes until he could be airlifted to a hospital in Nottingham, but tragically medics could not save his legs.

What is the Helen Rollason Award?

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award is given annually ‘for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

Previous winners include Paralympic legend Tanni-Grey Thompson for her multiple successes success at the 2000 Games and the competitors of the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014 – the global sporting competition for injured servicemen and women.

It is not always given to sportsmen and women for their achievements in their own field: in 2003 Michael Watson won the award for completing the London Marathon, a feat which took him six days. In 1991, middleweight boxer Watson was paralysed and almost killed in a title bout with Chris Eubank.

The award is given in honour of BBC presenter, charity fundraiser and cancer victim Helen Rollason

The winner each year is selected by BBC Sport.

The award is named after the BBC sports presenter Helen Rollason, who died in August 1999 at the age of 43 after suffering from cancer for two years.

She was the first female presenter of Grandstand, and following her cancer diagnosis she helped raise over £5 million to set up a cancer wing at the North Middlesex Hospital, where she received most of her treatment.

His mother Amanda said the crash was ‘all your nightmares rolled into one’ but the hospital staff had helped them through it.

The incident shook the motorsport community and led to a fundraising campaign for his rehabilitation and recovery that raised more than £800,000.

The beaming teenager was given his award by Formula One legend and SPOTY 2018 nominee Lewis Hamilton, who grinned and hugged him on stage.

Billy, from Gatwick, was into kart racing from a young age and competed all over the UK before he joined the F4 British Championship.

Known as ‘Billy The Whizz’, he moved to the big leagues in 2016 and took three podiums, finishing 12th.

But on April 16, 2017, he was involved in what was described as one of British motorsports most horrific crashes resulting in a double leg amputation.

Defeating all odds, Billy walked part of the track where he crashed into another car on prosthetic legs just months later.

In his speech tonight the young man thanked his mum and dad, adding that he ‘would have raced whether they told him to or not’. 

Earlier tonight the BBC announced Harry Kane, Dina Asher-Smith, James Anderson, Geraint Thomas, Lewis Hamilton and Lizzy Yarnold are this year’s Sports Personality of the Year award contenders. 

The sporting stars were selected by a BBC SPOTY panel and the winner will be announced after a public vote later in the night. 

The BBC had denied fans the chance to campaign for their favourite sports star by concealing the shortlist for Sport Personality of the Year until tonight’s live show in Birmingham. 

Throughout the night, the contenders talked about the motivations that have driven them to achieving their outstanding levels of success. 

Tyson Fury was the big omission when the nominees for this year’s award were announced. 

The heavyweight was the bookmakers’ fourth favourite for the prize after his dramatic draw with Deontay Wilder earlier this month but failed to make the shortlist of six.

Nominees (left-right) Lizzy Yarnold, Lewis Hamilton, Geraint Thomas, James Anderson, Dina Asher-Smith and Harry Kane during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018

After a hugely successful summer, England football captain Harry Kane has been nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year award

Geraint Thomas, the first Welshman to ever win the Tour de France, was also nominated following a remarkable year

This year, legendary England cricketer James Anderson became the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in Test cricket in history

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton talked about his wonderful season and his goals for the future

Billy Monger looked overcome with emotion as he was awarded the Helen Rollason award, handed to him by Lewis Hamilton

England captain Harry Kane is a hot favourite for the main award and was pictured arriving with his partner Kate Goodland

Sprinter Dina-Asher Smith is another contender for the main award after a fantastic season

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas is also believed to be in contention for the main prize, pictured arriving with his wife Sara Elen

Sports Personality of the Year 2018: The six contenders 

Harry Kane, Dina Asher-Smith, James Anderson, Geraint Thomas, Lewis Hamilton and Lizzy Yarnold have been picked by a panel as this year’s Sports Personality of the Year award contenders. 

Nominees (left-right) Lizzy Yarnold, Lewis Hamilton, Geraint Thomas, James Anderson, Dina Asher-Smith and Harry Kane during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018

Harry Kane

Kane celebrates after scoring against Croatia in the World Cup in Russia this summer

Kane played at the 2018 World CUp in Russia, captaining England to their third semi-final in history.

The 25-year-old won the Golden Boot, finishing as the top goalscorer in the competition.

He became only the second English player to do so, after Gary Lineker in 1986. 

Dina Asher-Smith 

Dina Asher-Smith, 23, could become the first woman to win since 2006

Dina Asher-Smith, 23, is in the running to become the first female to win the gong since Zara Phillips in 2006.

The bookmakers have her as one of the favourites after she became the first British track and field star to claim a treble of gold medals at a major championships.  

Millions watched her performances on the BBC, transforming her into a star and role model. 

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to triumph in the Tour de France this year

Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to triumph in the Tour de France this year. 

Thomas, 32, was the third British rider to win the race and the sixth in seven years.

He’d been cycling in the shadow of Team Sky teammate Chris Froome up until his victory.

It marks a remarkable comeback for the Welshman after he crashed out at the ninth stage after suffering a broken collarbone last year. 

Lizzy Yarnold 

Winter Olympic double gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold receives her OBE in October

With consecutive Olympic gold medals in 2014 and 2018, Lizzy Yarnold is the most successful British Winter Olympian and the most successful Olympic skeleton athlete of all time from any nation.

The 30-year-old was selected to be one of the two women skeleton drivers representing Britain at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She went on to become the first person to defend an Olympic gold in skeleton and the first British athlete to defend a Winter Olympic title.  

James Anderson became the leading wicket-taker among fast bowlers in Test cricket

Veteran England fast bowler James Anderson has been a leading light in test cricket for many years now. 

This season, he became the fast bowler with the most wickets in the history of Test cricket. 

The 36-year-old has never been nominated for the award before and many fans will see this as fair reward for a record-breaking career. 

Lewis Hamilton 

Lewis Hamilton became a five-time Formula One world champion this season

Lewis Hamilton, 33, became a five-time Formula One world champion this year after another spectacular season. 

He is a previous winner of the prestigious SPOTY award, receiving it in 2014.

Hamilton is hoping to go on and emulate the legendary Michael Schumacher, who is currently the only driver to have seven world championships.  

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