CHIPPING IN - Our NEW column with Darren Foreman

CHIPPING IN: Our new column with former Boro favourite Darren Foreman. Sponsored by The Roundel Cafe.
CHIPPING IN: Our new column with former Boro favourite Darren Foreman. Sponsored by The Roundel Cafe.
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Welcome to my new column - Chipping In, in which I’ll be giving my view on the week’s hottest sporting news.

We’ve seen the shortlist announced this week for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012, and competition was strong this year.

In normal years there would have been others in with a shout, but with the success of the Olympics the shortlist is dominated with our London 2012 heroes.

The likes of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Chris Hoy and Brad Wiggins were always going to be on the list, and they all have a good chance.

It’s also great to see athletes from the Paralympics finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Athletes like Sarah Storey, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir deserve to be in the reckoning and it is great that the Paralympics received extra attention over the summer.

The fact that Ryder Cup hero and world number one golfer Rory McIlroy won’t get a look-in, just shows how successful the games were in bumping up interest in sport in this country.

McIlroy has had a superb year and would usually be in with a chance, but the achievement of our Olympians and Paralympic athletes just about pips him at the post.

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here and predict my top three for the awards.

1) Bradley Wiggins

2) Ellie Simmonds

3) Mo Farah

I was close to putting Ennis in third, but the achievements of Farah just about won me over.

Wiggins has to win it for me. Winning the Tour de France on its own could be seen to be enough, but to follow that up with success at the Olympics must make him the favourite.

I firmly believe that there will be a Paralympian in the top three and I think that will be Simmonds.

One surprise ommission from the shortlist was England Test cricket captain Alastair Cook.

For me he should have been on the list. He has quite simply been outstanding this year.

He’s breaking record after record, and we saw him break a couple just this morning, including becoming the youngest ever batsman to reach 7,000 runs.

He has started well as captain of the Test team and has led from the front on the always difficult tour of India.

They were well beaten in the First Test and have bounced back superbly.

This sets up the Ashes nicely for next summer, with their captain Michael Clarke also in the form of his life.

One player they’ll be missing will be former captain Ricky Ponting, who bowed out of the Test game earlier this week.

He has been a superb player for the Aussies and will be sorely missed by them.

One story that jumped out at me this week was the drugs ban for jockey Frankie Dettori.

Dettori has been banned for six months after being caught using recreational drugs.

This can partly be condoned as the drugs he took weren’t performance enhancers, but I think his six-month ban was about right as he has slightly tarnished his reputation and that of the sport.

Anyone who takes performance enhancing drugs should be banned for life from their sport. Dwayne Chambers and Lance Armstrong are perfect examples of that.

Every week I’ll be picking out a Quote of the Week. This week’s comes courtesy of enigmatic Mario Balotelli’s agent, who in comparing his client to Mona Lisa.

“No Italian club would be able to afford him. Balotelli is as valuable as the Mona Lisa.”