By Mike Rowbottom

Keri Anne_Payne_swimmingDecember 22 - Andy Hunt, the British Olympic Association chief executive, has cited the achievements of Keri-Anne Payne (pictured) as his favourite sporting performance of the year as he announced the recipients of the 2011 Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy.

"The past 12 months were full of fantastic achievements by British athletes such as Mo Farah, Helen Jenkins and Alastair Brownlee," Hunt said.

"But for me personally, the highlight was witnessing Keri-Anne Payne cross the line to win the open water swimming World Championship in [Shanghai] China.

"It was a privilege to observe such a tremendous display of mental and physical strength and endurance."

Payne, who became the first British athlete to qualify for London 2012 with the victory, commented:  "Following a successful World Championships for the British Team in July, it's an honour to be recognised for the BOA Olympic Athlete of the Year award – it's the icing on the cake of a fantastic year."

Hunt added: "During the test events this year I saw first-hand the inspirational impact of the home crowd support on British athletes.

"This was perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the memorable silver medal won by Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock in the Badminton World Championships at Wembley.

"This bodes well for next summer when the whole of the UK can play their part in helping Team GB – Our Greatest Team to achieve something special.

"The Olympic Athlete of the Year award celebrates the excellence of athletes who represent the very best of British talent in their respective Olympic sports.

"I wish all the award winners the very best as they enter the home straight of their preparations for London 2012, or continue their journey towards Sochi 2014."

To mark outstanding performances in 2011, the following athletes have been awarded the BOA Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy:

Sport - Olympic Athlete of the Year
Aquatics - Keri-Anne Payne
Archery - Larry Godfrey
Athletics - Mo Farah
Badminton - Imogen Bankier & Chris Adcock
Basketball - Julie Page
Boxing - Andrew Selby
Canoeing - Jon Schofield & Liam Heath
Cycling - Geraint Thomas
Equestrian - Carl Hester
Fencing - Corinna Lawrence
Gymnastics - Daniel Purvis
Handball - Steven Larsson
Hockey - Laura Bartlett
Judo - Colin Oates
Modern Pentathlon - Jamie Cooke
Shooting - Peter Wilson
Table Tennis - Liam Pitchford
Taekwondo - Martin Stamper
Tennis - Andy Murray
Triathlon - Helen Jenkins & Alistair Brownlee
Volleyball - Dami Bakare
Weighlifting - Sonny Webster
Wrestling - Olga Butkeyvch
Biathlon - Amanda Lightfood
Bobsleigh - Paula Walker & Rebekah Wilson
Curling - Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow
Ice Hockey - Katherine Gale
Luge - Adam Rosen
Skating - Men's Short Track Relay Team
Skiing - James Woods

*Football, rowing and sailing are yet to announce their Olympic Athlete of the Year for 2011.

The award was introduced in 2005, to mark the BOA's Centenary Year and the success of London being awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.

The BOA presented a trophy to each of the 33 summer and winter Olympic sports for them to award on an annual basis to their top performing athlete of the year.

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May 2011: Payne books place in World Championships with Eilat win
May 2011: British swimmers dominate LEN Open Water Cup
August 2009: British world champion suffers defeat in Royal Victoria Dock