By Mike Rowbottom

Rebecca Adlington_with_Keri-Anne_Payne_Shanghai_July_2011November 28 - A charity group representing women's sport in Britain has expressed its disappointment that the shortlist of 10 contenders for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year, released tonight, does not contain a single woman.

"We are disappointed that the likes of Keri-Anne Payne (pictured above left), Rebecca Adlington (above right)and Chrissie Wellington haven't made it onto this year's shortlist," said Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF).

"However, while not the fault of the BBC, it's not much of a surprise given the lack of profile, support and stature of women's sport in this country.

"Our research shows the great opportunities that women's sport represents for fans, sponsors and broadcasters alike, particularly in view of the London Olympics.

"We hope that 2012 proves to be a fantastic springboard for women's sport and that future years' awards shortlist reflect that."

The ten sporting figures in contention of for this year's award, which will be made on December 22, include cyclist Mark Cavendish, who won this year's world cycling road race title, and two athletes who won world titles in Daegu – Mo Farah, who took 10,000 metres gold and 5,000m silver, and Dai Greene, who won the 400m hurdles title.

The list also contains two cricketers - Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss - and three golfers – Luke Donald, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

The list is completed by boxer Amir Khan and tennis player Andy Murray.

The shortlist of 10 contenders was put together by a panel of sports editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines.

In the 56 year history of the BBC Sports Personality, women have won it only 13 times, most recently in 2006 when the Queen's granddaugther Zara Phillips (pictured below centre) was rewarded for winning the world equestrian title. 

Zara Phillips_with_BBC_Sports_Personality_of_the_Year_award_December_10_2011
Earlier this month, the WSFF published "Big Deal? The case for commercial investment in women's sport" which revealed that there continues to be a chronic lack of investment in women's sport despite the imminent Olympics on home soil.

The exceptionally low figure contrasts with growing television audiences and public interest.

Women's sporting events, such as the World Cup this summer, are drawing increased audiences, often comparing favourably with men's events, and the final of the World Cup is also the second most tweeted about event ever online.

Research carried out in 2010 also shows that there is a demand amongst sports fans, with 61 per cent wanting to see more women's sport.

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