Former England manager Roy Hodgson and 1976 French Open winner Sue Barker are among the sports people who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Both have been awarded a CBE, one step below becoming a knight or a dame, for services to their sport.
Hodgson recently stepped down as Crystal Palace boss but has refused to confirm whether he has gone into retirement, after a management career which has spanned 45 years. Alongside leading the national team, he has also been in charge of Switzerland and Inter Milan, and guided Fulham to an unlikely Europa League final.
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Barker is more known to the younger generation as the BBC’s lead tennis presenter and until recently, host of A Question of Sport. But she reached three in the world tennis rankings during her career, the highlight of which was beating Renata Tomanova in the 1976 final at Roland Garros. She also made the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open.
Sue Barker after winning the 1976 French Open
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England team-mates Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have both been given an MBE for their services outside of the sport.
Sterling is recognised for racial equality in sport, having been a leading voice on the issue, particularly since the death of George Floyd sparked protests around the world.
Speaking last summer, the Manchester City forward told the BBC’s Newsnight: "It has been going on for hundreds of years and people are tired. People are ready for change. I see a lot of people on social and stuff supporting the cause but this is something that needs more than just talking. We need to actually implement change."
Raheem Sterling continues to be a prominant anti-racism campaigner
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Henderson’s award is for “services to football and charity, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic”. While the UK was in its first lockdown, the Liverpool captain led the #PlayersTogether initiative, bringing together fellow skippers to establish a fund which would allow players to contribute to NHS Charities Together.
On receiving his MBE, Jordan Henderson said: “My family and I feel greatly humbled to be recognised in this way, more so given the reason for it. There are many privileges that come from playing professional football, but having a platform to promote a charitable cause such as Players Together and NHS Charities Together is as big a privilege as any. It’s important for me to state that although the honour has been issued to me personally, the credit must be shared to a far larger group of people and I accept this in the knowledge I was part of something special, rather than the reason for it. The other Premier League captains were the catalyst and the rest of the players, including my own teammates at Liverpool, were a driving force behind the scenes.
"Huge numbers of football fans, from across the country, also displayed great generosity in donating. But the true heroes are the NHS staff; they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us. Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation."
City forward Sterling said: “Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling and a proud moment - not just for myself but for my family and friends. I am grateful to have been recognised but my priority is to try to help to educate society and myself. If it doesn’t start from within, then there’s no way you can help others. I’m learning every day. My motivation for racial equality is to get people to understand the difficulties people from diverse backgrounds face and create an environment where everybody is equal. I feel we are starting to make a step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do.
"There are still a lot of things we can get better at as a society such as social media with people taking more accountability. I think that is a major factor in achieving the ultimate goal of racial equality. We also need to support young people and give them opportunities to show what they are capable of achieving. I’ve launched a foundation for underprivileged kids from deprived backgrounds. It’s something that I’m really excited to work on because I can relate to it and I will give 100 per cent. If I can help to change one or two lives then I’ve done a massive thing there. If you want to make change then it has to start from yourself.”
Among the other sporting figures awarded an OBE are former NBA basketball player Luol Deng and ex-England rugby league captain Kevin Sinfield, who recently ran seven marathons in as many days, raising over £2m for motor neurone disease research in honour of his old team-mate Rob Burrow, who is battling the condition.
Former Olympians Jenette Kwakye (athletics) and Melanie Marshall (swimming) are also recognised, the latter partly for her charity work and as coach of Rio 2016 gold medal winner Adam Peaty.
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