Sarah Stevenson criticises Sports Personality list for lack of women

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson says several British women should have made the Sports Personality of the Year Award shortlist.

The 28-year-old, who took time out to care for her terminally ill parents during 2011, thinks she will never get a better chance to make the list.

Stevenson claimed an emotional gold at May's World Championships in Korea.

"I think I and a lot of other world champion female athletes do deserve to be on it," she told BBC Sport.

"It's a real shame. Even if I wasn't on it, it would have been good to see another female world champion on there because there are people out there who are the best in their sport and they deserve to be recognised for that."

Swimmers Rebecca Adlington, who won a World Championships gold medal in July, and Keri-Anne Payne, who won gold in the 10k open water event at the World Championships, missed out on the shortlist, as did ironman triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington.

Olympic bronze medallist Stevenson, who lost her mother Diana and father Roy to cancer in recent months, thinks her chances of receiving a nomination next year will be slim.

"I think it's going to be difficult for me to get another chance because even if I won gold in 2012 there are going to be so many other people getting golds in higher-profile sports, so it's kind of a lost opportunity for me," said the Doncaster-born fighter.

Stevenson - who received three votes in the nomination process - also called on the media to help increase the profile of lesser-known sports such as taekwondo to ensure the achievements of sportswomen receive greater attention.

"I reckon the general public will want to know about taekwondo because they just see the regular sports in the papers," she added.

"It's quite an exciting sport and there are loads of other sports out there that I want to see more of, so it's a shame, but hopefully it might get better."