By ASHLEY BROADLEY
It was only last year when writing this report that sport was being played behind closed doors, most meetings at work continued to be held virtually and the thought of any sort of “normal” was still a long way off.
In fact, even though we hoped we could hold the SJA’s awards ceremonies in person, as a committee we had discussions about another year of online celebrations.
Fortunately, normal did return and we held two fantastic events that showed a real appetite to celebrate the brilliance of our sporting stars and the talented people in our industry.
It was a venue change for the SJA British Sports Awards in December, sponsored by the National Lottery. Staged at the Brewery in London, it was attended by more than 300 celebrity guests from sport, politics and the media.
Emma Raducanu, the US Open tennis champion, was voted Sportswoman of the Year, Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty was Sportsman of the Year and the England men’s football team won the Team of the Year.
I was delighted to hand over the chairman’s award to the Paralympics GB wheelchair rugby team, who bounced back from a pool defeat to USA to beat the Americans and collect a historic first Paralympic gold medal in the sport.
And the inaugural Sky/Kick It Out award for Equality and Inclusion was awarded to Gareth Southgate, who was praised for his inclusive leadership and using his voice and position to promote equality and inclusion in football, in sport and in wider society.
The British Sports Journalism Awards were back at the Park Plaza, Westminster, with a record-breaking attendance.
Congratulations to all the winners – seeing how much it means to win an award is fantastic and many a tear was shed. I must mention a few names with my PA Media hat on – Martyn Ziegler of The Times (former PA) for his hat-trick of awards and PA photographer David Davies who scooped a brace. And Alex Lowe of The Times and Folding Pocket Productions’ Matthew Sherry, both PA alumni.
On the award categories themselves, the SJA committee is setting up a root and branch review which I will be leading. We are aware of the challenges any awards ceremony has and we want to be fair to all media. If anyone has any feedback/ideas/thoughts, please get in touch with me as I will be working on this in the coming months.
Thanks again to all the judges who, in their spare time, helped decide the winners and of course we continue to be grateful for the continuing support of the National Lottery and Canon.
📣 We’re all set for the Annual General Meeting of the Sports Journalists’ Association, which starts at 12.30pm. Thanks to our friends at @SwanHydePark for hosting us! 🙏
All the info 👉 https://t.co/mzszeM736l
If you’re a member and you need the Zoom link, pls drop us a DM 👍 pic.twitter.com/QxKjo1RVSI
— Sports Journalists (@SportSJA) May 19, 2022
The SJA Academy continues to develop and a number of webinars have been held to offer help, support and advice to those wanting to get into the industry. This will continue as our SJA Academy membership continues to grow and now stands at 177.
We currently have 824 members (12 honorary, 767 full and 45 associate) which includes 102 new members since the last annual general meeting.
And speaking of membership, three long-standing members are to stand down from the committee.
Former chairs Andy Elliot and Janine Self and former secretary Nick Townsend have all served with distinction and as a result I’m delighted to announce they have both been given honorary membership. Thank you all for your hard work.
In fact, thanks to everyone on the committee and the members I have dealt with for their support and advice over the last 12 months and I look forward to another year of great sporting achievement and amazing coverage in our media.
Ashley Broadley is the sports editor at PA Media and chair of the Sports Journalists’ Association