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Zara Phillips wins top Sport Award
10 December 2006

Zara Phillips has been named 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year - 35 years after her mother, the Princess Royal, received the same honour. She won the public vote ahead of golfer Darren Clarke and gymnast Beth Tweddle.

The award marked the climax to a thrilling year for Phillips, who holds both world and European equestrian titles on her horse, Toytown. She won individual gold in the three-day eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in Germany, where she produced a near faultless display over the three days of dressage, cross country and show jumping. She also helped Great Britain claim the team silver and has become only the third rider to hold the European and World titles at the same time.

"It's just amazing to be here among these amazing sport people and to win this is absolutely amazing," she said. "There were so many fantastic people up for the award, I personally didn't expect to win."

Pre-event favourite Darren Clarke, who helped secure an emotional victory for Europe in the Ryder Cup just weeks after the death of his wife Heather from cancer, secured 21% of the vote, while Beth Tweddle earned 12%.

The show was taking place outside London for the first time in the event's 53-year history, with 3,000 tickets snapped up by members of the public. "The atmosphere was brilliant and I was in awe of everyone," Phillips added later. Her mother, the Princess Royal won the coveted BBC award in 1971.