Andy Murray, Mo Farah knighted; Jessica Ennis-Hill to be a Dame


Andy Murray has received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth's New Year's Honours list on Friday, recognition from the monarch for reaching the pinnacle of tennis by winning his second Wimbledon and Olympic titles on his way to topping the rankings.

The 29-year-old Murray was previously named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in 2012 after becoming Olympic champion for the first time.

Murray is happy to have a Sir in front of his name -- even if it will take some getting used to.

Speaking on court after beating Milos Raonic at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, he said: "I still feel like Andy Murray -- that feels more normal -- but I am happy with the knighthood and it is a nice way to start the new year."

Joining Murray in being knighted is Mo Farah, who retained his 5,000- and 10,000-metre titles at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, becoming the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals.

"I'm so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight," Farah said. "Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today -- it's a dream come true.

"I'm so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career."

Lee Pearson, who won his 11th Paralympic gold in equestrian in Rio, was also knighted. He already held the MBE, OBE and CBE for services to equestrianism and to disabled sport. He described the honour as "surreal".

Damehoods went to heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and rower Katherine Grainger, who both retired from competitive action following the Rio Olympics.

Ennis-Hill, who took to Twitter to express her delight, added silver in Rio to her gold at London, as did Grainger, who came out of retirement to compete in the double sculls alongside Vicky Thornley.

"As an athlete you have such clear objectives and goals which are very obvious that you are trying to achieve and you can get ranked in terms of success or failure in a very objective way, that is what you are used to," Grainger, who won gold four years earlier in London, said.

"Then there is something like this, which is something you can never really aim for or find your way to get, so it takes quite a while to get used to. I feel hugely privileged that mine has been very much a team sport, all my great successes and bitter disappointments have been with an amazing group of people as well.

"It is lovely that this [honour] in a way reflects the efforts which everyone has put in, team-mates, colleagues, crew-mates and coaches. I think it is something which none of us ever expects or sets out to try to achieve."

Olympians and Paralympians also featured heavily among those awarded CBEs.

Cyclist Laura Kenny, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin, Paralympian swimmer Sascha Kindred and Sophie Christiansen, for services to para-equestrianism, have all been honoured with a CBE.

Among those to receive the OBE are Nicola Adams - who made a successful defence of the flyweight title in Rio and also won gold at the 2016 World Championships.

The two-time Olympic boxing champion has been widely tipped to turn professional after dominating the amateur flyweight category over the past four years.

Away from the Olympics, Wales manager Chris Coleman was awarded an OBE for steering his national football team into its first semifinal at the European Championship. Northern Ireland manager, Michael O'Neill, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE.

In Formula One, former Williams test driver Susie Wolff has also been made an MBE, as has cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew.