Birmingham & Black Country

New Year Honours 2020: Olympian Kelly Sotherton made MBE

Kelly Sotherton, of Great Britain, competes in the 200-metre discipline of the women's heptathlon on August 20, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kelly Sotherton won Olympic bronze in the heptathlon at the Athens 2004 games

British heptathlete Kelly Sotherton has been appointed an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.

She won an Olympic bronze medal at the event in Athens in 2004, and in both the heptathlon and 4x400m relay in Beijing in 2008.

Sotherton has been recognised for her services to track and field athletics and the promotion of women's sport.

She said it was "really nice" to be honoured not just for her sport.

The athlete, from Birmingham, came fifth in Beijing's heptathlon. But she was upgraded to third after two rivals failed drugs tests, finally receiving her medal in 2018.

She also got a 4x400m relay bronze medal from Beijing after the GB quartet was upgraded following the disqualification the Russian and Belarusian teams.

Sotherton won Commonwealth gold in the heptathlon at Melbourne in 2006 and bronze at the World Championships in Osaka a year later.

She said: "It is really nice to be recognised, not just for sport, but also what I am doing in the promotion of women's sport."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Great Britain women's 4x400m relay team received their reallocated 2008 bronze medals 10 years after the event

Sotherton retired after failing to recover from a back problem in time to qualify for the heptathlon at London 2012.

Since then she has worked to help others into sport and set up the British Athletics Athlete to Coach programme.

She serves as an elected member of the IAAF's Women's Committee and is a board member at Sport's People Think Tank, which has recently reviewed the under-representation of BAME coaches and managers in football.

Currently a performance coach at Wasps Rugby, she said: "Especially within athletics, the field of play is 50/50 but the governance around it is not.

"It is important to show pathways and opportunities for women, but it is also about fairness for all."

Other sporting honours recipients from Birmingham and the Black Country include:

  • Gilbert Preece, from Walsall is awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to football, after 58 years volunteering in Bentley and Darlaston
  • Kenneth Forrest, from Acocks Green, the life president of the Youth Bowlers Club, gets a BEM for services to sport and young people in Birmingham
  • Keith "Cookie" Cook, of Edgbaston, the cricket operations manager at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, is awarded a BEM for services to cricket
  • Kevin Johns, from Dorridge, in Solihull, receives a BEM for services to the community. He cycled to all 62 gold post boxes in the UK after London 2012

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