Vote Now Action Woman Awards 2021: How to vote for your Action Woman of the Year & 2021 Rising Star

The awards celebrate the most outstanding achievements from British and Irish female athletes over the past 12 months.

Published: 30 November 2021 - 1.35pm

BT Sport is proud to announce the nominees for the Action Woman Awards as we pay tribute to Britain and Ireland's most inspirational female athletes after an unforgettable year.

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In what has been a groundbreaking 12 months for women’s sport, this year's ceremony will acknowledge six of 2021’s standout British and Irish performances in the Action Woman of the Year category, plus three of the countries' most exciting young talents in the Rising Star award - with both decided by a public vote.

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2021 was hailed ‘the year of the female Olympian’, with Team GB's women athletes outnumbering their male counterparts for the first time in 125 years of the summer games.

In a year of milestones, Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era and Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

Action Woman: Previous Winners

2013: Rachel Atherton

2014: Charlotte Dujardin

2015: The Lionesses

2016: Rachel Atherton

2017: Jodie Taylor

2018: Dina Asher Smith

2019: Pippa Funnell

2020: No award due to Covid-19

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: "It has been another standout year for women's sport, as demonstrated not only by the combined heroics of Team GB in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but also by individual achievements, with so many incredible, record-breaking displays from tennis and football, to cricket and horse racing.

"We are proud to champion the achievements of our nominees, and encourage everyone to show their appreciation and admiration for these remarkable athletes by voting for their favourite sportswoman of 2021."

The winners of the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year and the Rising Star awards will be decided by a public vote via btsport.com/actionwoman.

The winners will be announced at the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year Awards show, presented by Clare Balding and broadcast for anyone to watch (subscribers and non-subscribers), live on BT Sport 1HD, via our app, website, YouTube and Twitter from 8pm on Monday 6 December.

Action Woman 2021 Nominees

Equestrian icon Pippa Funnell was named BT Sport Action Woman of the Year for 2019
Equestrian icon Pippa Funnell was named BT Sport Action Woman of the Year for 2019

Dame Sarah Storey (Para-Cycling)

This year saw Dame Sarah Storey become Britain's most successful Paralympian ever.

The former swimming star first landed the C5 individual pursuit and time trial crowns at the Tokyo Games.  She then went past previous record holder Mike Kenny and on to an incredible 17 career Paralympic golds by succcesfully defending the women's C4-5 road race title she has held since London 2012.

Vote for Dame Sarah Storey

Dame Sarah Storey

Emma Raducanu (Tennis)

Emma Raducanu ended Britain's 44-year wait for a women's Grand Slam singles champion as she won the US Open at the age of just 18. 

Raducanu had already burst on to the scene at Wimbledon with a thrilling run to the fourth round, despite being ranked outside the top 300 when being handed a wildcard for the event.

But then just weeks later, in a fairytale story that captured the nation's hearts, the 400/1 pre-tournament outsider became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open era with an astonishing victory in New York - and she didn't even drop a set in the process.

Vote for Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu

Laura Kenny CBE (Cycling)

Laura Kenny became the first British woman to win gold at three different Olympic Games as she and Katie Archibald were crowned Madison champions in Tokyo.

The triumph made her the country's most medalled female Olympian, alongside Charlotte Dujardin, with six in all. A full reading of her record of five golds and one silver - compared to three golds, one silver and two bronzes for Dujardin - makes Kenny statistically Britain's most decorated female athlete of all time.

Vote for Laura Kenny

Laura Kenny CBE

Emily Campbell (Weightlifting)

Emily Campbell became the first British woman ever to medal in weightlifting at the Olympics by winning +87kg silver in Tokyo.

Team GB took home 65 medals and Campbell's silver was among the most popular, with her red and blue hair providing one of the most striking podium images from the Games.

Campbell had earlier claimed a historic gold medal at the European Games in Moscow.

Vote for Emily Campbell

Emily Campbell

Rachael Blackmore (Horse Racing)

Rachael Blackmore sent records tumbling in 2021 as she became the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the first to finish as top jockey, with six winners in all.

She then rode Minella Times to victory at Aintree to become the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

Vote for Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore

Kadeena Cox (Paralympics)

Kadeena Cox retained her C4-5 500m time trial Paralympic title with an epic world-record ride in Tokyo.

The 2021 Celebrity MasterChef winner also served up gold in the mixed team sprint (C1-C5), having already become the first Team GB athlete to win two gold medals in separate sports in Rio in 2016.

Vote for Kadeena Cox

Kadeena Cox

Rising Star Nominees

Jessica & Jennifer Gadirova (Gymnastics)

Teenage twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova wowed the nation with their performances in artistic gymnastics at Tokyo 2020.

The then-16-year-old siblings were part of the four-strong British women's team who won a historic bronze medal in Japan.

Vote for the Gadirovas

Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova

Alice Capsey (Cricket)

Having made her professional debut with a match-winning half-century in the first ever Hundred, the 17-year-old delivered an instrumental performance with bat and ball as the Oval Invincibles beat the Southern Braves to be crowned the first Hundred champions in front of 17,000 fans.

Vote for Alice Capsey

Alice Capsey

Lauren James (Football)

James made history as a teenager by scoring Manchester United’s first-ever goal in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and finished as their top scorer in the 2019/20 season with six goals in 12 appearances.

She was also shortlisted for the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year that season and has since gone from strength to strength, winning her first England call-up in November 2020 and earning a high-profile move to Chelsea this summer.

Vote for Lauren James

Lauren James