By Ian Cole
In front of a record audience of more than 400 journalists at The Brewery tonight, the Sports Journalists’ Association began its 60th anniversary year celebrations by establishing a “first”, with Martin Samuel, of The Times, becoming the first to win the Sports Writer of the Year accolade for a third consecutive year.
Samuel, winner in 2005 and 2006, again received the John Bromley Trophy from the SJA President Sir Michael Parkinson at the ceremony in London, which was generously supported by BT Vision and UK Sport.
The 2007 SJA Sports Photographer of the Year prize was won by the Press Association’s Gareth Copley.
Samuel, who previously worked for the News of the World, topped a poll of national newspaper sports editors in the annual competition. In praising Samuel one judge said: â€œHe took the plunge back into daily papers but still maintained â€“ even surpassed â€“ the remarkable quality and clarity that has hallmarked his writing and thinking for many years.â€
Runner-up was Paul Hayward of the Daily Mail, with Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror third. Holt was named joint winner of the Sports Columnist award, together with Simon Barnes of The Times.
Carl Recine of Action Images won the Sports Picture of the Year.
The News of the Worldâ€™s breaking of the “Fredalo” story involving England cricketer Andrew Flintoff earned David Norrie the Sports Story of the Year award, while Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Times retained the Sports Interviewer crown for the fourth consecutive year.
Regional Sports Writer of the Year is Mike Aitken of The Scotsman, with Jon Colman of the Cumberland News highly commended.
This year saw the introduction of two new awards. The Internet Sports Writer was won by Matt Slater of bbc.co.uk, while Oliver Brown, of the Daily Telegraph, is the first winner of the SJA’s Young Sports Writer of the Year Award – Brown receiving the Ian Wooldridge Trophy – named after the former Daily Mail columnist who died last year – from Sarah Wooldridge, the widow of the multiple winner of the Sports Writer of the Year.
SJA members hold a separate poll to decide Sports Broadcaster and Sports Programme of the Year â€“ with the result a repeat of the previous year. Sky Sportsâ€™ Jeff Stelling won the Broadcaster section for the third year running, while Radio 5 Liveâ€™s SportsWeek was top programme.
Chris Smith, formerly with the Sunday Times and a past winner of the Sports Photographer of the Year, received the Doug Gardner Trophy for services to sports journalism.
Roll of Honour in the 2007 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards
Sports Writer: Martin Samuel (The Times)
Sports Photographer: Gareth Copley (Press Association)
Specialist Correspondent: Kevin Garside (Daily Telegraph)
Sports Columnist: Simon Barnes (The Times) and Oliver Holt (Daily Mirror)
Sports Feature Writer: Matthew Syed (The Times)
Sports Interviewer: Paul Kimmage (Sunday Times)
Sports News Reporter: Neil Harman (The Times)
Sports Diarist: Charles Sale (Daily Mail)
Sports Story: David Norrie (News of the World)
Regional Sports Writer: Mike Aitken (The Scotsman)
Internet Sports Reporter: Matt Slater (bbc.co.uk)
Young Sports Writer: Oliver Brown (Daily Telegraph)
Sports Team: Sunday Timesâ€™ Tour de France coverage
Sports Picture: Carl Recine (Action Images)
Sports News Picture: Marc Aspland (The Times)
Specialist Sports Portfolio: Gareth Copley (Press Association)
Sports Portfolio: Paul Gilham (Getty Images)
Young Sports Photographer: Matthew Childs (Action Images)
Sports Broadcaster: Jeff Stelling (Sky Sports)
Sports Programme: SportsWeek (BBC Radio 5Live)
Sports Cartoonist: Nick Newman (Sunday Times)
All inquiries regarding this Press Release to SJA Press Officer Ian Cole (07799 605280)
Some of the winning photographs and further reports on the evening’s presentations will be posted on this website on Tuesday.
Read a selection of Martin Samuel’s work by clicking here
Join the SJA today – click here for details and membership application form