SEVENTEEN-year-old sprinter Ryan Palmer said he was shocked to beat footballer Conor Washington and boxer Tommy Martin to win the Coversure Hunts Post Sports Personality of the Year award at Hinchingbrooke House Performing Arts on Tuesday night.

The Huntingdonshire Athletic Club member, who is currently 12th in the under-20s national rankings, pipped the prolific 20-year-old St Ives Town striker and 18-year-old St Ives Boxing Club professional to the honour, telling The Hunts Post: "I was shocked to win it but I am really pleased.

"I've got one more big meeting, a big one in Bedford, this month - that'll be the last one of this season.

"Then I will have a good winter training before going the indoors competition and starting again next year.

"My aim is go keep getting personal bests and keep creeping up the rankings. I'm 12th in the United Kingdom for under-20s so I still have two more seasons too see what I can do."

Washington was also a finalist in the Outstanding Achievement (over-18s) category as well but again missed out on the top prize to 18-year-old footballer Jade Bell, who is currently studying in the United States after winning a football scholarship at the Texas-based A&M University.

The striker, who is currently back with her family in Ramsey for the holidays, is the only non-American player in her team and she finished the season as the top scorer in her league.

She says she isn't American yet, though. "When I get back people tell me I have an accent already," she told the audience at the awards. "But I haven't noticed it. But then I have been back for a couple of months."

The third finalist in her category, Grafham motorcycle racer Jonathan Railton, was at the event with his family.

His father David rode a motorbike competitively for 25 years. Now he is his son's coach.

Currently 11th in the National Metzeler 1000 Superstock Championship, Railton is aiming high. "I want to finish on the podium at least once this season," he said.

Not an unreasonable aim: Railton has been close several times this year and has four races left to claim that top-three place.

- For full reaction and more pictures of the evening see next week's paper.