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Raducanu caps stunning year with New Year honour

LONDON (AFP) – Emma Raducanu was named in Britain’s New Year Honours list on Friday – alongside a clutch of Olympic stars – in recognition of her stunning breakthrough victory at the United States (US) Open.

Cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny – who have won 12 Olympic gold medals between them – received a knighthood and damehood and there was recognition for Tokyo gold medallists Tom Daley, Adam Peaty and Max Whitlock.

The honours list recognises outstanding achievements in various fields including showbusiness, sport and politics, as well as the contributions of people across society.

A number of medical chiefs leading Britain’s battle against coronavirus have also been given awards in the latest list.

Raducanu, who became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Britain’s Emma Raducanu celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s final match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York, on September 11, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

“It makes me immensely proud and grateful to be listed to receive an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen,” said the now 19-year-old Raducanu, who did not drop a set at Flushing Meadows on her run to the title.

“This year has been full of amazing surprises for me so to end 2021 with this appointment is very special.”

Jason Kenny has received a knighthood after becoming Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time at the Tokyo Games, winning his ninth medal – and seventh gold – on the final day.

His wife, Laura Kenny, Britain’s most successful female Olympian, has been given a damehood – the female equivalent of a knighthood.

British Cycling’s performance director, Stephen Park, who himself becomes a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), praised the Kennys for their achievements.

“Not only are Jason and Laura true masters of their craft, they are also wonderful teammates, role models and ambassadors for our sport,” he said.

Diving star Daley, who won his first Olympic gold at his fourth Games, was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to diving, rights and charity.

Gymnast Whitlock and swimmer Peaty, both of whom have won three Olympic gold medals, also received OBEs.

Seven-time Paralympic wheelchair racing champion Hannah Cockroft was made an OBE after winning two golds in Tokyo.

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes has been awarded an OBE after helping the Blues retain their Women’s Super League title in 2021 and reach the Champions League final.