British sports photographers have long been regarded as among the most innovative in the world, and this year’s prize-winners at the BT Sport-sponsored Sports Journalism Awards showed that the quality of their pictures remains unfailing high
Alan Crowhurst, of Getty Images, was tonight crowned as the Sports Photographer of the Year at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards dinner in London, for his outstanding portfolio of work covering the Sport of Kings.
The SJA’s judges – who this year had to consider record entries across all categories – in their presentation citation actually thanked Crowhurst for making their job “easy”.
“His entry delivered a combination of great action and thoughtful feature pictures,” the judges said in awarding Crowhurst’s work the Specialist Sports Portfolio.
They then had to choose between the Getty Images photographer and the winner of the Sports Portfolio award, Adrian Dennis, of AFP, for the 2015 top sports photography prize. Crowhurst denied Dennis a third victory.
Crowhurst has been working as a sports photographer since he had pictures from Hove greyhound races published in the Racing Post in 1990.
He has worked widely since, across many sports, though at first mainly football and rugby, and as a freelancer for many outlets, including the Press Association, the Sunday Mirror, News of the World, and Rugby World and L’Equipe.
“Having spoken to many picture desks on the sales side I knew a lot of the picture editors and I would give them a ring on a Wednesday or Thursday to see if any shifts were going,” he said. “Persistence paid off.”
Horse racing has always been Crowhurst’s first passion, he says, and after winning the racing photographer of the year award in 2009, “My break came in 2010 when I was offered work with Getty Images covering mainly horse racing. I couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity and jumped at the chance.”
There were two new photography categories at the SJA British Sports Photography Awards this year, the Football Picture of the Year, which was won by John Sibley, and a Rugby World Cup Portfolio, which went to Andrew Boyers.
Sibley’s picture, the judges said, was “stunning” and “captures the intensity of a Premier League game. … a well-deserved winner”.
Both Sibley and Boyers work for Action Images, and that agency who picked up a third winning award through Carl Recine’s punchy Sports Picture of the Year.
The SJA Winners 2015
Sports Photographer of the Year
Alan Crowhurst – Getty Images
Winner: John Sibley – Action Images
Highly Commended: Richard Heathcote – Getty Images
Highly Commended: Kirsty Wigglesworth – Associated Press
Rugby World Cup Portfolio
Winner: Andrew Boyers – Action Images
Highly Commended: Rebecca Naden – Reuters
Highly Commended: Paul Thomas – Freelance
Specialist Sports Portfolio
Winner: Alan Crowhurst – Getty Images
Highly Commended: Philip Brown – Reuters
Highly Commended: Peter Spurrier – Freelance
Winner: Carl Recine – Action Images
Highly Commended: Tom Jenkins – The Guardian and Observer
Highly Commended: Jordan Mansfield – Getty Images
Winner: Adrian Dennis – AFP
Highly Commended: Eddie Keogh – Reuters
Highly Commended: Daniel Mullan – Getty Images
- Rights-free images from tonight’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport, are available from Getty Images.
- For media enquiries regarding the SJA awards, contact Tom Knight – 07836 298874
- The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details
- This year, the SJA’s nominated good cause is The Journalists’ Charity. To find out more and how you can donate on a one-off or regular basis, go to www.journalistscharity.org.uk