High five for Collins as Whitaker snaps top prize

From Ian Cole at The Brewery in London
Patrick Collins, of the Mail on Sunday and Edward Whitaker, of the Racing Post, walked away from the annual British Sports Journalism Awards here tonight as the Sports Writer and Sports Photographer of the Year.

Columnist Collins (pictured right receiving his award from Carole Anne Bromley and Dame Kelly Holmes) was voted for by national newspaper sports editors, regaining a title he last won in 2002, while horse racing snapper Whitaker (pictured left with Dame Kelly and the Ed Lacey Trophy), who regained the Specialist Portfolio prize that he won in 2006, won his award by impressing a distinguished panel of judges.

The crowning of Collins capped a great night for his paper: the Mail on Sunday scooped seven awards or commendations.

The awards, organised by the Sports Journalists’ Association since 1976 and now sponsored by UK Sport and Sky Bet, were presented at a glittering dinner at prestigious The Brewery venue in London’s Moorgate. There were record entries in both the writing and photographic sections.

Collins lifted the John Bromley Trophy, the fifth time he has been crowned Sports Writer of the Year and ending Martin Samuel’s run of three successive wins. It is the first time Whitaker has taken Britain’s leading sports photography prize.

Jeff Stelling was voted Sports Broadcaster of the Year for the fourth successive year for his hosting of Sky’s Soccer Saturday show, while Garry Richardson’s Sportsweek, on BBC Radio Five Live, was again voted Sports Programme of the Year by the SJA membership.

A category introduced this year, supported by Sky Bet, saw the Racing Post’s Steve Palmer collect the trophy for Sports Betting Writer.

The Guardian’s sports desk celebrated their victory as Team of the Year in recognition of their coverage of the Beijing Olympics, while Cumbrian Newspapers claimed a clean sweep in the Regional Writer category, won by Jon Colman, with his colleague Amanda Little highly commended.

Former England cricket captain Michael Atherton was named Specialist Correspondent for his cricket writing in The Times. He was also runner-up to Collins in the Sports Writer of the Year voting.

Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Times completed an incredible five-timer as Interviewer of the Year, while Clive Mason of Getty Images submitted the Sports Picture of the Year.

The 2008 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards Roll of Honour:

Sports Writer: Patrick Collins (Mail on Sunday); Runner-up, Michael Atherton (The Times)
Sports Photographer: Edward Whitaker (Racing Post)

Sports Broadcaster: Jeff Stelling (Sky); Runner-up: John Inverdale (BBC).
Sports Programme: Sportsweek (BBC Radio); Runner-up: Olympic Grandstand (BBC).

Sports Picture: Clive Mason (Getty Images); Commended, Stu Forster (Getty Images), Mark Pain (Mail on Sunday)

Sports Team: The Guardian (Olympics); Commended, Daily Telegraph (Olympics), Guardian (Munich Anniversary).

Columnist: Oliver Holt (Daily Mirror); Commended, Simon Barnes (The Times)

Feature Writer: Owen Slot (The Times); Commended, Matthew Syed (The Times).

Sports News Reporter: Rob Draper (Mail on Sunday); Commended, David Conn (The Guardian).

Sports Story: Rob Draper and Daniel King (Mail on Sunday); Commended, Derek Pringle and Nick Hoult (

Sports Diarist: David Hills (Observer); Commended, Charles Sale (Daily Mail).

Specialist Correspondent: Michael Atherton (The Times); Commended, Chris McGrath (The Independent).

Sports Interviewer: Paul Kimmage (Sunday Times); Commended, Ian Stafford (Mail on Sunday).

Young Sports Photographer: Paul Gilham (Getty Images); Commended, Julian Finney (Getty Images), Dan Matthams (Nottingham Evening Post).

Young Sports Writer for the Ian Wooldridge Trophy: Emma John (Observer Sport Monthly); Commended, Mark Hodgkinson (Daily Telegraph).

Sports Betting Writer: Steve Palmer (Racing Post); Commended, Derek McGovern (Daily Mirror).

Regional Writer: Jon Colman (Cumbrian Newspapers); Commended, Amanda Little (Cumbrian Newspapers).

Sports News Picture: Marc Aspland (The Times); Commended, Matt Dunham (Associated Press), Tom Main (Freelance).

Sports Internet Writer: John Hopkins (timesonline); Commended, Andy Bull (

Sports Cartoonist: Nick Newman (Sunday Times); Commended, Steve O’Brien (Mail on Sunday).

Specialist Picture Portfolio for the Phil Sheldon Memorial Trophy: Edward Whitaker (Racing Post), Commended, Stu Forster (Getty Images), Mark Thompson (Getty Images).

Sports Picture Portfolio: Matt Dunham (Associated Press); Commended, Shaun Botterill (Getty Images), Mark Pain (Mail on Sunday).

To see a slideshow of some of the shortlisted photographic entries, click here

And for lists of past winners of the awards and links to reports on past awards events, click here

â–¡ UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade. Sky Bet are the SJA’s newest partners, the sponsorship being announced in October 2008.

Both partners support the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards and the sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

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