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Jonathan Rea named 2017 BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year

Motorcyclist Jonathan Rea with his BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year award.
Staff reporter

Jonathan Rea has been named the 2017 BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year.

The award comes hot on the heels of Rea’s runner-up spot in the overall BBC Sports Personality of The Year Awards on Sunday.

It was a unanimous decision from the judges following the Ballyclare racer’s record-breaking year - creating history by becoming the first person to win three successive World Superbike titles.

Picking up the BBC Northern Ireland award Jonathan said: “It’s incredible. Like I say, time after time, our country punches above its weight in all sports, not just motorsports. So to be recognised as part of all sports put together - it’s an award that really means a lot. Thank you very much.”

And after picking up his MBE earlier this year on top of a third successive Superbike title, Rea reflected on what it’s like get recognition at home:

“Most of my childhood here growing up, motorsport racing in motocross, they’re the best days of my life. So, yeah, to come back home and always see the support I have from back home and on social media - this award means a lot. It’s a big thing.”

The award caps a successful year for Jonathan as he looks forward to next year:

“After Sports Personality of The Year in Liverpool, and now to receive this, I can firmly switch off 2017 and look towards ’18. But this really means a lot. Thank you very much.”

Jane Tohill, Executive Producer Sport BBC Northern Ireland said: “It’s always difficult to select the winner. We are very lucky to have so many talented sporting stars in Northern Ireland who excel in teams and individually. But Jonathan’s success this year means he’s a worthy winner.

"Jonathan’s result at the Sports Personality awards on Sunday night also reflects the respect he has across the UK for what he has achieved, and, how he has achieved his success. So we’re really pleased to award him the 2017 BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year.”

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