TONY McCOY, honoured in Belfast on Sunday evening when receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC’s 2015 Sports Personality of the Year awards, delivered a rousing speech urging youngsters to do all they can to make the grade.
He was presented with his trophy by top golfer Rory McIlroy and was joined on stage by his former boss JP McManus, training great Aidan O’Brien, plus good friend and old rival Ruby Walsh.McCoy, the 20-time champion jockey who retired in April after riding 4,348 British and Irish jumps winners, was named Sports Personality of the Year in 2010 and joined Seve Ballesteros, Sir Alex Ferguson, George Best, Sir Ian Botham, David Beckham, Pele, Bjorn Borg, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sebastian Coe in winning the Lifetime Achievement Award.
‘A wonderful sport’
McCoy said: “I just want to say what an honour it is to receive such a prestigious award, especially here in Belfast.
“Being from Northern Ireland, a place that has produced so many talented and successful sports people – none more so than the fella on my right [McIlroy], it makes it even more special.
“Racing is a wonderful sport and I was lucky to live my life as a jockey through it and to that I will be forever grateful.
“There are so many people I’d like to thank. I rode in nearly 18,000 races and I’d like to thank the horses I was able to ride because without them this wouldn’t be possible.
“I’d like to thank the stable lads and lasses who looked after them so well and believe me they look after them better than you could ever believe.
“Finally, to any young people watching, all I can say is make the sacrifices because it’s worth it.”
Tennis ace Andy Murray won the main award for the second time, while champion apprentice Tom Marquand lost out to gymnast Ellie Downie in the race to become Young Sports Personality of the Year.