Rugby star beaten to top gay award

Former Northampton Saints winger Ben Cohen has been beaten to a top gay award - by an entire football team.

The Northampton born-and-bred father of twins had been one of five nominated in the sports award category organised by the gay rights group Stonewall at a glitzy London ceremony.

World Cup winner Cohen, who left Saints last year to play for Brive,

missed out on the award which went to Stonewall Lions Football Club.

Others nominated in the category were TV presenter Clare Balding, the Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society and rower Matthew Mitcham.

The judges said that the Lions, winners of this year's Gay Football World Championship, were "a beacon of light in the darkness of homophobia that exists in football".

Organisers say they have included Cohen on the shortlist because of his support for greater equality in sport and for celebrating his gay fanbase.

Last year Cohen held a special drinks reception for his many male admirers at the Dorchester Hotel in London as a thank-you for their support.

And earlier this year Cohen trounced David Beckham by being named GT's sports personality of the year, while he was second to actor John Barrowman in the sexiest man of the year category.