OLYMPIC sailor Sir Ben Ainslie is in the running for the title of 'Sporting Legend' in this year’s 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.

Sir Ben is amongst twelve top UK athletes competing in the sporting legend category of this year’s awards.

Voting closed yesterday, and the winner will be revealed in the next few weeks

Sir Ben, from Weymouth, has competed and medalled at five Olympics.

He said: "The introduction of National Lottery funding for competitive British sailing in 1997 was a game changer and has been the bedrock on which the success of the British Sailing Team has been built on at consecutive Olympic games.

"I would like to thank National Lottery players for helping to make the British Sailing Team the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time and for helping me to pursue and realise my dream of becoming an Olympic gold medallist.”

At his first-ever Olympic Games, aged 19, he won an Olympic silver medal and went on to establish himself as the world’s best by winning consecutive golds at the next four Olympic Games. In addition to his Olympic glory, he is an eleven-time World Champion, nine-time European Champion and four-time World Sailor of the Year. In January 2013, Ben Ainslie was knighted, a day he describes as ‘the proudest moment of my career’. In September 2013, Ben was part of one of the biggest comebacks in sporting history, winning the 34th America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA. He is now the Team Principal and Skipper of Britain’s America’s Cup Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, INEOS TEAM UK.