Big-hearted spin bowler Dwayne Leverock and Teresa Perozzi - the boxer who defended her world title twice while running a business and raising her son - are the Bermuda Sun's sports personalities of the year for 2006.

Both have faced public and media scrutiny away from the sports arena, but have proved their critics wrong where it counts - on the pitch and in the ring.

There have arguably been greater sporting feats in '06, with Flora Duffy's rise to triathlon stardom and Michael Sims' qualification for the U.S. Nationwide Tour among the highlights. Duffy, who finished sixth in a World Cup race and eighth in the Commonwealth Games, is also recognized today with our Editor's Choice award for Young Athlete of the Year.

But ultimately it was Leverock and Perozzi that captured the public's imagination in our online poll.

Leverock's battle with his weight and Perozzi's ability to juggle work, family and intense periods of training have endeared them to the public.

They're average men and women doing extraordinary things on the sports field.

One of the commentators at the Stanford 20/20 tournament in Antigua perhaps said it best when he quipped 'there's a lot of people here that can relate to Dwayne Leverock' as the camera panned around some of the bulging waistlines in the crowd. Ultimately though, Leverock, would not be a hero for so many if he was not such a brilliant bowler.

Bermuda Sun sports editor Don Burgess said both Perozzi and Leverock were worthy champions. "Part of their appeal, I think, is that they are ordinary Joe Public types. They've got the same problems and the same hassles in life as you and me, yet they have still been able to dedicate themselves to their sports and produce world class performances for Bermuda. Duffy is an up and coming talent whom I'm sure we'll be hearing much more of in the years ahead. "