Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is under consideration for a BBC Sports Personality of the Year ‘Special Achievement Award’ in recognition of his efforts in tackling child food poverty.
Rashford is expected to be omitted from the shortlist for the main Sports Personality of the Year award because his achievements are not considered ‘sporting’.
The criteria can be flexible enough to include him and he was already heavily fancied to win it even though the nominations aren’t finalised until next month.
Ignoring Rashford altogether because his achievements haven’t been in a sporting capacity – if anything, they have transcended all sport and united people – would be an extremely poor decision from the BBC. But a ‘Special Achievement Award’, if it is to be the case as reported by The Mirror, is perhaps an even greater honour for the 22-year-old because it is so rarely handed out.
There have only been five ‘Special Achievement Awards’ in the 65-year history of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The first went to disabled marathon runner Dennis Moore in 1981, with jockey Lester Piggott later recognised in both 1984 and 1994.
Comedian and actor David Walliams was honoured in 2006 after he swam the English Channel for charity, while fellow comic Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days for charity in 2009.
An even rarer ‘Special Gold Award’ was presented to Sebastian Coe in 2005 as a result of his work in London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. He also went on to receive the annual ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2012 after the Olympics took place.
In 2020, Rashford has taken the fight of ending child food poverty in the UK to the government in Westminster. He has already helped feed vulnerable people by raising £20m with charity FareShare and successfully lobbied the government to extend free school meals over the summer for children who rely on such schemes for their only proper meal of the day.
The United and England star continues to fight on behalf of hungry children with no voice, especially after MPs inexplicably voted down a motion in parliament to further extend the school meals scheme during the October half-term and Christmas holidays until next year.