By Emily Goddard

National-LotteryNovember 9 - The National Lottery has been confirmed as the headline sponsor of this year's Sports Journalists' Association (SJA) British Sports Awards taking place at the Tower of London on December 6.

"It has been possibly the greatest year in the history of British sport, a year when the SJA's members have been busier than ever reporting on or photographing Grand Slam victories, European Cup wins and Major successes," Sir Michael Parkinson, the SJA President, said.

"The SJA is absolutely thrilled therefore to join forces with The National Lottery which has been a fundamental part in the transformation of British sport, helping to deliver so many Olympic and Paralympic medals, and is now joining us for the celebration of the sporting year at our British Sports Awards on December 6."

The agreement is particularly fitting as the National Lottery has been supporting elite sport in Britain since 1997, contributing £152 million ($243 million/€190 million) to provide world-class facilities, coaching and technology to Olympic sports, which helped athletes prepare for the London 2012 Games.

As a result, 88 per cent of Team GB competitors selected for the London Olympics received National Lottery money through UK Sport's World Class Performance Programme.

sir chris hoyBritain's most decorated Olympian Sir Chris Hoy receives National Lottery funding through support from British Cycling

Andy Duncan, managing director of Camelot, said: "We are delighted to lend our support to the Sports Journalists' Association's British Sports Awards.

"This has been a year of stunning British sporting success – none more so than at London 2012, where almost nine out of 10 of the Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes selected had benefited from National Lottery funding.

"Our players have been supporting elite sport in the United Kingdom since 1997 and the difference this has made isn't hard to see.

"Team GB came home from the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 in 36th place in the medal table, with just a solitary gold medal.

"This year, Team GB had its most successful Games in over 100 years, finishing third in the medal table with 65 medals, 29 of which were gold – while ParalympicsGB won 120 medals, including 34 golds, to beat its Beijing haul of 102 medals.

"We are therefore proud to partner with the Sports Journalists' Association, whose members do so much to capture and bring to life these iconic sporting moments for us all to enjoy."

The SJA has been staging its annual Sports Awards since 1949, making it the longest-running event of its kind in the country.

Past winners include Sir Roger Bannister in 1954; Sebastian Coe in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984; Paula Radcliffe in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005; David Beckham in 2001; and Jessica Ennis in 2009 and 2010.

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