IAN COLE reports on the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, staged in London tonight
Britain’s sports journalists bade a fond farewell to Olympic year 2012 with a medal ceremony of their own to recognise the Sports Writer, Sports Photographer, Sports Broadcaster and Sports Newspaper of the Year.
The Sports Journalists’ Association’s annual British Sports Journalism Awards, staged at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London and supported by Laureus and BetVictor, reflected excellence across all branches of the media with the principal awards going to Telegraph sports writer Paul Hayward, photographer Adrian Dennis of Agence France-Presse, Clare Balding of BBC and Channel 4, and the old Thunderer itself, The Times.
Hayward previously won the coveted John Bromley Trophy for Sports Writer of the Year 16 years ago.
For Dennis, who also won a special award for his London Games portfolio, it was first-time recognition after a year which also found him grass-rooting at the Weston Beach Race and Austin Healey Vintage Car Race.
Balding, a familiar face on television screens during BBC’s Olympic coverage and then C4’s coverage of the Paralympics, was a popular winner of Sports Broadcaster of the Year on an outstanding night for the BBC, who also won TV and Radio Sports Programmes, for their Olympic coverage and Test Match Special respectively, and took the Laureus-sponsored Sports Website of the Year trophy.
As for The Times, sports editor Tim Hallissey and his team walked away with Sports Newspaper of the Year for a third successive time.
The SJA’s writing and photography awards are decided by panels of judges drawn from a broad sweep of the sports media and related industries. Sports Writer of the Year is an accolade bestowed by a panel of national newspaper sports editors, while the broadcast awards are the result of a poll of the SJA’s 750-plus membership.
Prominent among a variety of other awards was another victory in the Specialist Correspondent category for former England cricket captain Michael Atherton, now cricket correspondent of The Times. Atherton was judged the winner of this category ahead of more than 50 other entries from a broad scope of sports, in what was an overall record entry for the SJA awards.
A new era at the Mail on Sunday sports desk began with Patrick Collins winning Sports Columnist of the Year for a fifth time, while Martha Kelner was declared Young Sports Writer and collecting the Ian Wooldridge Trophy.
Scoop of the Year was the Kevin Pietersen text scandal in the England cricket team, bringing an award for the Daily Mail’s Lawrence Booth, while David Walsh of the Sunday Times achieved the unique double in the four decades of these awards by winning both Sports News Reporter and Sports Feature Writer for his long-term work in exposing the disgraced Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong as a drugs cheat.
Sports Picture of the Year was taken by Andrew Boyers, of Action Images, while freelance Ed Hawkins retained the BetVictor Sports Betting Writer of the Year title.
The SJA’s Doug Gardner Award, in recognition for services to the profession, went to Barry Newcombe, who is standing down after a record seven-year term as the Association’s chairman, and a career in which he has been covering the Wimbledon championships for almost half a century and has been the BOA’s press attache at four successive Olympic Games.
THE WINNERS –
the 2012 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards
Sports Writer of the Year: Paul Hayward (Telegraph)
Sports Photographer of the Year: Adrian Dennis (AFP)
Sports Broadcaster of the Year: Clare Balding (BBC and C4)
Sports Newspaper: The Times
Laureus Sports Website: BBC London 2012
Highly commended: The Guardian and Telegraph Olympic
Sports News Reporter: David Walsh (Sunday Times)
Highly commended: Ian Herbert (The Independent) and Jonathan McEvoy (Daily Mail)
Specialist Correspondent: Michael Atherton (Times)
Highly commended: Henry Winter (Telegraph) and Neil Ashton (Daily Mail)
Feature Writer: David Walsh (Sunday Times)
Highly commended: Paul Hayward (Telegraph), Owen Slot (The Times) and Jeff Powell (Daily Mail)
Columnist: Patrick Collins (Mail on Sunday)
Highly commended: Michael Calvin (The Independent) and Michael Atherton (The Times)
Interviewer: Oliver Brown (Telegraph)
Highly commended: Donald McRae (Guardian) and David Walsh (Sunday Times)
Sports Scoop: Pietersen’s England text messages – Lawrence Booth (Daily Mail)
Highly commended: Michael Atherton (The Times) and Shaun Custis (The Sun)
Young Sports Writer: Martha Kelner (Mail on Sunday)
Highly commended: Chris Tait (freelance) and Jack Pitt-Brooke (The Independent)
Regional Sports Writer: Jon Colman (Cumbrian Newspapers)
Highly commended: Chris Wathan (Media Wales) and Simon Walter (Southern Daily Echo)
BetVictor Sports Betting Writer: Ed Hawkins (freelance)
Highly commended: Greg Wood (Guardian) and Kevin Pellein (Racing Post)
Sports Picture: Andrew Boyers (Action Images)
Highly commended: Stuart Robinson (Daily Express) and David Davies (Press Association)
London Games Portfolio: Adrian Dennis (AFP)
Highly commended: Dylan Martinez (Reuters) and Mark Pain (Mail on Sunday)
David Welch Student Sports Writer: James Gheerbrant (University of Oxford)
Runners up: Amy Lofthouse (Manchester University) and Oliver Goldstein (University of Cambridge)
Specialist Picture Portfolio: Philip Brown (Reuters)
Highly commended: Mark Robinson (freelance), Clive Rose (Getty Images)
Sports Portfolio: Eddie Keogh (Reuters)
Highly commended: Mark Pain (Mail on Sunday), Adrian Dennis (AFP)
Sports News Picture: Richard Heathcote (Getty Images)
Highly commended: Paul Childs (Action Images) and Andrew Couldridge (Action Images)
Sports Cartoonist: Matt Pritchett (Telegraph)
Highly commended: Nick Newman (freelance) and Huw Aaron (The Rugby Paper)
TV Sports Programme: 2012 London Olympics (BBC)
Radio Sports Programme: Test Match Special (BBC)
Doug Gardner Award: Barry Newcombe
- For further information regarding the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards contact the SJA Secretary, Steven Downes on email@example.com
- For a sample gallery of some of the outstanding entries for this year’s SJA British Sports Photography Awards, click here
- Further pictures and reports from the Awards will be posted on this website in coming days