ALI Carter is not going to be voted as Sports Personality of the Year next weekend – even if in a few people’s eyes that wouldn’t be such a bad choice.

That will almost certainly go to either Rory McIlroy or Lewis Hamilton. However we hope that he is recognised in a different way during the annual BBC programme celebrating the sporting year.

You know the Carter story has moved people in a special way because it has brought a wider media attention that both the player and the sport do not always enjoy.

There is an award at the BBC SPOTY show to honour the memory of the popular, talented and respected presenter and reporter Helen Rollason, who very sadly lost her own battle with cancer.

And poignantly and appropriately the BBC established an award in her memory, the main citation for which is coping with adversity in a sporting context.

Now, you only have to look at the list of names of previous recipients, and the stories behind those names, to know that this year there will again be any number of worthy and deserving candidates across Britain.

And by its very nature, it is probably not one to celebrate wildly if it comes your way, or too upset if it doesn’t. It will go to someone deserving, the panel making the decision will make sure of that.

But that doesn’t stop anyone having a view, and in our view Carter should be in the conversation, and would be a very fitting choice for that award this year.

Most people reading this will know the story well, but a recap may put things in the correct context.

Carter is twice a world championship finalist at the Crucible Theatre, having had the relative misfortune of having to face Ronnie O’Sullivan on both occasions, and winner of three ranking tour titles.
He had already endured his fair share of health problems in the past, suffering from Crohn's disease throughout his career. This is on its own a very debilitating condition, has seen him undergo major surgery on his intestines, and makes overseas travel and diet (harder to control in China, where players can spend almost half the season) very difficult.
Then in 2013 at 33 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but surgery made further treatment unnecessary.
And then this year, even more seriously, he was diagnosed with a type of lung cancer in May after losing 13-9 to eventual world champion Mark Selby in Sheffield.
This resulted in several courses of chemotherapy, one of which he was unable to have because of the Crohn's - and also additional radiotherapy treatment, eventually being given the okay to return to his day job with treatment having been a success.
Throughout this Carter remained resolutely positive and upbeat as evidenced by his comments on Twitter, using his young son Max as the inspiration to get well again. And that in itself inspired others who came into contact with him.
After six months away the 35-year-old from Essex won his comeback tournament, the invitation General Cup in Hong Kong, beating top players Marco Fu, Liang Wenbo, Mark Davis and Shaun Murphy 7-6 in the final along the way.
Carter still has plenty to do to maintain his position among snooker’s elite, despite the governing body’s short-term help in maintaining his ranking for entry into big tournaments and seeding purposes this season. He has been through a huge physical and mental ordeal, and that has arguably showed at the recent Champion of Champions and UK Championship.

But he has already shown that he will put in whatever work needed to regain his strength, fitness and form, and we at Inside Snooker will be sitting at home watching on Sunday December 14th hoping that his bravery, dedication and fighting spirit will be recognised.


Photograph by Monique Limbos