30th December 2016
British Athletics superstars Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) headlined The New Year’s Honours List published on Saturday 31 December.
Farah, who successfully defended his 5000m and 10,000m titles at the 2016 Olympic Games, receives a knighthood, whilst Ennis-Hill, who picked up two major medals in 2016, winning silver in Rio and also being declared 2011 World Champion*, becomes Dame Jessica.
"I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight” said Farah. “Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today - it's a dream come true. I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career. My successes have only been possible because of their support and the commitment, sacrifices and love of my amazing family and the team around me now and over the years."
Britain's Paralympic heroes have also been rewarded for their success in Rio with Hollie Arnold (David Parker), Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk), Jo Butterfield (Phil Peat/Shona Malcolm), Libby Clegg (Joe McDonnell), Kadeena Cox (Brian Scobie), Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) and Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) all receiving MBEs.
The Honours crown a year of excellence for British Athletics, which saw the team win 186 medals in European and World competition during a 12-month period in 2016 – including seven Olympic and 33 Paralympic medals.
British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: “It is fitting that such a great honour is bestowed upon two athletes for whom competing in the British vest means so much.
I’ve been privileged to work with both of them through their phenomenal careers, and I can’t think of two athletes more deserving of these titles.
Everyone at British Athletics is delighted for them and very much looking forward to 2017 where Sir Mo will continue to compete as part of the British team, and Dame Jessica is working with the London 2017 organisers to help set the stage for two magnificent championships.”
Sir Roger Bannister, CBE, the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes in 1954, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.
Also Honoured were John Allen for services to Athletics in Northern Ireland and coach Michael Francis McGreevy for services to Dromore Athletics Club.
The full honours list is available at www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists