England flanker Jane Leonard has joined the likes of Dame Kelly Homes and rugby legends Rory Underwood and Rob Wainwright in being awarded the Combined Services Sports Personality of the Year.
The 26-year-old, a Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers who recently returned from Iraq, has been a key figure England’s bid for a Grand Slam in this season’s RBS 6 Nations.
But Leonard – who fought off competition from Navy and RAF candidates to take the women’s gong – insists it was an unexpected accolade.
“I’m so pleased to have won this award,” she said. “I was just delighted to be nominated so to actually go on and win it is the icing on the cake.
“It was a phenomenal day all round, especially to have the Duke of Kent presenting the awards and also to have such high ranking officers attending.
“My name will now be on the list of winners of this award forever and that is something very special, especially when you see how many other superb athletes have won this award in the past.”