#SJA2021: Writing, photography and broadcast stars of the future win young prizes

The stars of the future…we are delighted to announce the winners of the prestigious young photographer, writer and broadcast categories at the 2021 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery and Canon.

Step forward and take a bow, Tom Kershaw of The Independent, Rio Clarke of Buzz 16, BBC’s Katie Smith and Molly Darlington of Reuters/Action Images. 

The winners and all those shortlisted are invited to attend the awards at the Park Plaza, Westminster on Monday March 7 as a guest of the SJA. The winners will collect their trophies on stage at the event.

Kershaw, who wins the Ian Wooldridge award as Young Writer, earned this accolade from the judges.

“Displays an incredibly smart and imaginative style of writing. The vividness and sense of place in Tom’s work is especially captivating and suggests he is destined for a long and distinguished career in journalism. Compelling subject matter, tenacious legwork and rhythmic prose made for masterful storytelling. Portfolio showcased emotive, vivid writing, sophisticated structure and a sharp instinct for the complexities of the human condition.”

Isaan Khan of the Daily Mail won the silver award while stablemate Nathan Salt of MailOnline won bronze.

Chair of writing judges Colin Bateman said: “In these days of a contracting local newspaper industry, it is so heartening to see there are still outstanding young journalists emerging. Our entrants in this category this year once again demonstrated that there is plenty of fine talent coming through to pick up the baton.”

Rio Clarke of Buzz 16 was the winner of the ‘Ones to Watch – off air’ category. Olly Cink of talkSPORT took the silver and the bronze was shared between Tom Burton of Sky Sports and Daniel Raza of BBC Sports News

The judges said: “To just be working on and associated with such high levels of content at the age of 22 is impressive, but to actually help define and shape such powerful narrative from personal experience sets Rio apart from the competition. Working with high profile and dominating talent can be very difficult, but it’s clear that Rio has a maturity beyond his years.”

In the ‘on air’ category, Katie Smith earned high praise from the judges. Freelance Flo Lloyd-Hughes was awarded silver and breakout Olympics pundit Lutalo Muhammad was awarded bronze.

The judges said: “With a wide and varied submission of work on national radio, this broadcaster showed they were genuinely one to watch. Her talent is in her enthusiasm and passion for the subject, an ease of delivery and connection with the audience and a clarity of information on a range of sports and events. An engaging talent, the one to watch on air.”

Chair of broadcast judges, Faye Carruthers, said: “The SJA know the importance of recognising the abundance of young talent we have coming through our industry. This year, the bar was raised even higher again, from on air journalists making their mark to talented production staff bringing sport to life behind the scenes – the future of broadcasting feels safe in their hands.”

Molly Darlington of Reuters/Action Images was the universal choice for Young Photographer with Alex Davidson of Getty Images and PA Media’s Zac Goodwin taking silver and bronze.

Chair of photography judges Alistair Grant said: “The question is often posed is there any emerging talent and  our judging panel is pleased to say with an emphatic YES, there is. Just look at the submitted work. The range of technical ability, use of colour, and composition  is truly uplifting and this in a year when access was hard even for the seasoned professional .”