England netball player Ama Agbeze and golfer Georgia Hall have been made MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Scotland women’s football coach Shelley Kerr has also been appointed MBE, along with Welsh counterpart Jayne Ludlow.
“You definitely don’t start a netball career hoping to get an MBE so I’m just proud and honoured,” Agbeze said.
There is also a belated honour for Gillian Donaldson, formerly known as Gillian Sheen, who has been made an MBE. Now aged 90, she won Britain’s only Olympic fencing gold medal at the Melbourne Games in 1956.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United chief executive David Gill and outgoing All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Philip Brook are appointed CBEs, while Harjit Bhania, head coach of the Great Britain men’s wheelchair basketball team, has been appointed OBE.
Well-known female sports personalities feature prominently on the list at the start of a busy summer for women’s sport, with the football World Cup in France having started on Friday and the netball World Cup taking place in Liverpool from 12-21 July.
The England netball team won both the Team and Greatest Sporting Moment awards at the 2018 BBC Sports Personality of the Year show following their success with Commonwealth gold,
Agbeze said of her MBE: “It’s a huge thing because it shows we are heading in the right direction. We had the Sports Personality of the Year award and now this, and it all helps to keep netball at the forefront of people’s minds.”
Kerr, 49, who has guided Scotland to the Women’s World Cup for the first time and was capped 59 times, said: “It’s not often I’m lost for words but I was speechless when I found out. It’s a tremendous honour.”
Her side face England in their opening game on Sunday (live on BBC One at 16:30 BST).
BBC golf commentator Ken Brown and Clive Everton, who commentated on snooker for 30 years for the BBC, have been appointed MBEs along with former QPR manager Chris Ramsey – currently the club’s technical director and an anti-racism campaigner – and Tony Allcock, winner of 17 world bowls titles.
‘A great barometer of the growth of women’s sport’
Out of a total of 37 sporting honours, 15 women were awarded, or 41%. Last year it was 12 women out of 31 people awarded, or 39%.
“We are delighted to award so many talented sportswomen in this Queen’s Birthday Honours List,” a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said.
“Encouraging nominations to improve representation on the list continues to be a huge focus for us.
“With an exciting summer of world-class female sporting events ahead, we hope to receive even more nominations for future rounds.”
Several female sporting administrators have also been recognised – Cherry Alexander, Sally Munday and Jan Paterson have all been made OBEs.
Munday has been England Hockey’s chief executive since 2009 and will become the head of UK Sport this autumn.
During her tenure, Great Britain women’s team won a first Olympic gold medal in 2016 following their bronze four years earlier, when the men’s team also had their finest Olympic performance for a quarter of a century when they lost to Australia in the bronze medal match.
She said: “It is such a privilege to be the CEO of a sport you love, I am a grassroots hockey girl in my heart and to have had the opportunity to lead the sport through this exceptional period of growth and success has been incredibly special.”
Laura Weston, trustee at the Women’s Sport Trust, said: “The fact that more women are being recognised is a great barometer of the growth of women’s sport.
“We would expect this number to continue to rise, especially given the amazing calendar of women’s events coming up this year.
“It’s important that women, both at the elite and grassroots level, are rewarded for the unbelievable efforts that have been made – although we know there are still many unsung heroes out there.
“We urge people to celebrate and nominate these women so they get the praise they deserve.”
The Cabinet Office said all 10 honours committees, including the Sports Committee, had been looking at ways “to raise public awareness of the nomination process, to continue improving the diversity of the list”.
Anyone can make a nomination, as well as government departments asking schools, local authorities and other organisations to suggest candidates.
Queen’s Birthday Honours list for sports
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Philip Brook (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chairman), for services to tennis.
David Gill (former Manchester United chief executive and FA vice-chairman), for services to football.
Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Cherry Alexander MBE (British Athletics major events director), for services to elite sport.
Tony Allcock MBE (Bowls England chief executive), for services to lawn bowls.
Harjit Bhania (GB Men head coach), for services to wheelchair basketball.
Richard Brickley MBE (former teacher, coach and classifier), for services to disability sport.
David Campbell (Scottish coach), for voluntary service to athletics.
Sheila Morrow (former player, umpire and administrator), for services to hockey in Wales.
Sally Munday MBE (England Hockey chief executive), for services to hockey.
Jan Paterson MBE (BOA director of Olympic relations and British Olympic Foundation chief executive), for services to Olympic Sport.
Sarah Treseder (Royal Yachting Association chief executive), for services to sport.
Nigel Walker (English Institute of Sport national director), for services to elite sport.
Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Ama Agbeze (former England captain), for services to netball.
Amrik Basi (amateur boxing referee), for services to boxing.
Arnold Black (Scottish Athletics historian and statistician), for services to athletics.
Ken Brown (golf broadcaster and journalist), for services to sport and broadcasting.
Kyle Coetzer (Scotland captain), for services to cricket.
Andy Cooke (Scottish coach), for services to badminton.
John Dallimore (Welsh Target Shooting high performance manager), for services to target shooting.
Gillian Donaldson (former fencer and 1956 Olympic gold medallist), for services to UK sport.
Clive Everton (broadcaster and journalist), for services to snooker.
Eileen Fenton, for voluntary service to long distance and competitive swimming coaching.
Georgia Hall (golfer), for services to golf.
Ruth Holdaway (Women in Sport chief executive), for services to gender equality in sport.
Steve Jones (former marathon world-record holder), for services to sport.
Shelley Kerr (Scotland Women manager), for services to football.
Jayne Ludlow (Wales Women manager), for services to women’s football in Wales.
Judy Mackenzie (former Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association chair), for voluntary service to wheelchair curling.
Chris Ramsey (QPR technical director), for services to football and diversity in sport.
Peter Reddin, for services to gymnastics.
Kathryn Shippey & Peter Shippey (Shippey Campaign co-founders), for voluntary service to inclusion in football spectating.
Dr Marie Short (synchronised swimming coach), for services to charity.
Edwin Thomas JP (British Ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Association chairman), for services to disability sport.
Charles Thomson (Scottish Target Shooting vice-chairman), for services to target shooting.
Dr Peter Whitehead (former British Equestrian Federation chief medical officer), for services to equestrian sport science and medicine.
Terence Wilcox, for voluntary service to the Special Olympics.