ABERDEEN, Scotland (AP) — Cricket World Cup winner Ben Stokes ended a sensational 2019 by claiming the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year prize. He promptly thanked those who had helped him through a 2018 to forget.

Stokes' performances in the World Cup final, which England won on an unprecedented boundary countback against New Zealand, and the third Ashes test helped him seal the public vote for the award, ahead of six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and world 200-meter champion Dina Asher-Smith at Sunday's ceremony in Aberdeen.

In 2018 Stokes was cleared of affray charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September of the previous year.

"Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life. I've had so many people help me through that," the 28-year-old Stokes said as he accepted the award on stage.

The award ceremony got off to a poignant start as former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir was presented with the Helen Rollason award. The 49-year-old Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2016, and he has spent the time since then working to raise awareness of the condition.

Weir, who won 61 caps for Scotland, said: “It's quite ironic. Being a Scottish rugby player in the ’90s, this is the closest I ever got to a trophy!”


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports