Queen honours sporting elite

2011-06-11 09:45

London - Current World No 2 Golfer Lee Westwood, racehorse trainer Henry Cecil and two cricketers from England's victorious Ashes team are among the sports figures honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in her birthday list.

Westwood, who supplanted Tiger Woods as world No 1 in October and regained the top ranking from Martin Kaymer in April, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Cecil was given a knighthood for more than 40 years of service to horse racing and David Higgins, an Australian who led the construction program for London 2012 as chief executive of the Olympics Delivery Authority, was also handed the top honour available.

England captain Andrew Strauss, who guided his country's test team to a successful defense of the Ashes on Australian soil, was given an OBE for services to the sport while fellow opening batsman and man-of-the-series Alastair Cook was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

England cricket coach Andy Flower also received an OBE as did John Amaechi, who became the first openly gay NBA player after coming out in 2007.

"The thing that was good about playing basketball was not putting a ball in a hole - it was the access it gave you to do other good things if you chose," said Amaechi, who was honoured for services to sport and to the voluntary sector. "This, I think, additionally will give me another great access to do good things."

Sebastien Coe, chairman of London 2012's organising committee, said Higgins' honour is "thoroughly deserved."

"David Higgins played a central role in the extraordinary progress we have made in the delivery of the Olympic Park - both the regeneration and the world-class sports venues," Coe said.

Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu - two athletes who are hoping to star for Britain during next year's games - both received MBEs.