June 12, 2022 - A stunning open-air ceremony at Khalifa International
Stadium, under a shining Full Moon in Doha, saw the closure of the AIPS
Sport Media Awards 2021 edition. There were tears, there was joy, and
there were powerful and emotional speeches. It was a night for
journalism, for journalists. It was a night in which the football pitch
was not to report from the stands, but to jump in and celebrate a
profession that is not a job, but a mission and a passion.
the last Jury voting, on Saturday, the podium of the winners was
finally unveiled. During a little more than one hour, more than 30
journalists, photographers and videographers became the new reference of
sports media excellence. Serbia, China, USA, France, Australia, Brazil,
Bulgaria, Algeria, Namibia, UK, Iran, New Zealand, Argentina, Puerto
Rico, Ghana, Uganda, Italy, India… the five continents represented in a
ceremony that marked the first AIPS Awards reunion post Covid-19
gala, hosted by Italian journalist Valentina Clemente, kicked off with
an emotional moment. Mentor Riccardo Romani, who covered the war in
Ukraine and was present in war scenarios in Afghanistan and Irak,
introduced the story of Ukrainan journalist Vladislav Dunaienko, who
after being part of the Young Reporters Programme in Lausanne, in
November 2019, chose to become a soldier following the Russian invasion
of his territory.
I teach my class during our Young Reporters Programmes, I make aware
our young students about the challenges posed by the constant changing
of journalism. I say. Adapt
or Die. Never, in my darkest nightmares I would have thought those
three words could become so real and frightening,” said Romani, who
underlined the power of sports to build bridges to overcome conflicts.
“We, as journalists of sport, are the construction workers of those
bridges. Its’ our duty now to work even harder to make them stronger. We
owe this to the profession we love so deeply. We owe this to Vlad
Dunayenko,” he said.
AIPS president Gianni Merlo went on stage: “Our
association is organising a lot of Young Reporters Programmes, as the
one where Vlad was, to show them the way. This is the path we’ve started
in 2016, as we decided to invest in culture. Our commitment is to keep
sport clean, and our only possibility is to build bridges, as Romani
said,” said Merlo.
the Photography Sport Action category, winner was Andrej Isakovic
(Serbia), for his incredible “The Halo Effect” (AFP), the F1 picture
showing Verstappen’s car on top of Hamilton’s, the tyre almost touching
his helmet. Isakovic was followed by André Durâo (Brazil) and Félix
Sánchez Arrazola (Spain).
hope you’ve liked all the pictures shown in the podium, because this is
what we do everyday. And today I’m more excited than when I took the
picture of the Formula 1,” said Isakovic.
the Writing - Best Colour Piece category, the first place went to Wufei
Yu (China) and WIll Ford (USA), followed by José Encarnación (Puerto
Rico) and Nick Hope (UK).
Ford picked the prize and said: “Thank you to Wufei Yu, who is in
Beijing and couldn’t come because of COVID restrictions, but I know he’s
watching the ceremony, and thank you to the Jury and to AIPS for this,”
said Ford. The ultramarathon of 100k in China, that ended in the
tragedy with 21 runners dead, was published in the magazine Runner’s
the Video Documentary category, the winner was Matthieu Darnon
(France), followed by David Harrison (UK) and Christoph Nahr (Germany).
Darnon’s submission was Backdraft (Canal+), that tells the story of
Romain Grosjean, who miraculously survived a horrific F1 crash during
the Bahrain Grand Prix: his car hit the barriers, split in two, and
caught fire. It took 28 seconds for Grosjean to emerge from his burning
Haas car that night. The documentary reveals how Grosjean himself and
witnesses experienced that moment of horror.
the Audio category, the first place was for Tracey Holmes (Australia),
followed by Dario Ricci (Italy) and Ronny Blaschke (Germany).
have to congratulate every single person sitting over there to keep
inspiring to make a change, thanks to AIPS to continue to recognise the
value of our work. I’d like to thank our hosts, Qatar, in this year of
the 2022 World Cup, which cames with challenges, but that will
remembered by how you’ve faced those challenges, the men and women from
Qatar. And finally, to the Afghan athletes, the women that were asking
for help, and whose voice was heard,” said Holmes.
created not just a stunning audio piece for her podcast The Ticket, but
also managed to set up the rescue mission that saved more than 100
Afghan athletes and their families from the Taliban regime, and she did
it all while being in hotel quarantine after coming back from the Tokyo
the Photography Portfolio category, the first place went for Ueslei
Marcelino (Brazil), followed by Clive Mason (UK) and Loïc Venance
made an impressive Tokyo 2020 boxing portfolio that showed the passion
for the sport, from the ambience to the key moment of tasting the golden
medal. “This is also for the Brazilian boxers that made their best
effort,” said Marcelino in tears.
reporting saw three winners: Omar Boudi, Zoher Boudi, for “The drama of
Algerian players and their disabled children” (Echorouk TV), a film
that showed the team-mates of a football team whose children were born
with disabilities, possibly linked to substances they were given without
their knowledge of side-effects. Dimitar Tasev (Bulgaria) made another
doping investigation with “Doping in deep water” (BTV Media Group).
Finally, Michael Uugwanga (Namibia) was awarded for revealing the
situation of poorly paid boxers that are risking their lives just for a
few coins (Confidente Sport).
the Video Athlete Profile category, the first place was for William
Moss (USA), followed by András Muhi Pires (Hungary) and Mengtong Niu
worked on the story of Jordan Burroughs (NBC), an Olympic and world
champion in wrestling that prepared for the Olympics qualifying with one
mission: show his family the power of never quitting. “The person that I
want to thank the most is Jordan Burroughs, who is the most incredible
and inspiring person I’ve met,” said Moss.
the Writing - Best Column category, the winner was Kate Rowan (UK).
Second came Marcela Mora y Araujo (Argentina) and third, Emanuela
claimed the prize but couldn’t reach the ceremony on time, following
difficult family circumstances. Her column in The Telegraph (UK) speaks
for herself: it is the story of how she became one of the few men’s
rugby female journalists, and how she was systemically abused by
characters of a system that does not accept women.
the Video Short Feature category, the winner was Maziyar Koupidar
(Iran). Second came Heidi Iro (Austria) and third were Julien Ababsa and
Guillaume Papin (France).
worked on an independent production to tell the story of four Afghan
sisters refugees in Iran who love football and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Young Reporters category had three winners: Joe Allison (New Zealand)
in Photography, José Encarnación (Puerto Rico) in Writing and Francis
Hema (Ghana) in Broadcasting.
like to thank the Jury, AIPS, Doha for having us, and also my dad, who
is in the crowd, and my mom, who is watching from home. Also thanks to
Getty Images for given me the opportunities. It is an incredible
privilege to be here,” said Allison.
story was also second in Best Colour Piece, and it is the story of the
Camarero racetrack in Puerto Rico, where more than 1400 horses were
euthanised in strange circumstances in the same veterinary. “I like to
thank to my grandfather, who helped me a lot in this investigation, and
passed away shortly after it was published. And I like to thank everyone
that keeps fighting against crime and corruption in sport,” said
Encarnación. “I don’t know where to start. One thing that kept me going
is the passion”.
Special categories celebrated the career of Joe Lartey (Ghana), a
95-year-old legend for African journalism. “I’ve been saying thank you
since I left Ghana, and was brought here, and I keep saying thank you.
Since the creation of the national association in Ghana, progress was
made. And progress in sports journalism will continue until the end of
time,” said Lartey, who received an outstanding ovation by awardees and
guests in the most emotional moment of the gala.
commendations were given for different subjects. Sport for Hope saw
David Picker (USA) for “A Shared Pastime” (NBC) an emotional video about
the baseball team that was created right after Fukushima disaster in
Japan, to offer a way out of the disaster. Sports for the next
Generation was for Jonatan Taylor (Ireland) for “Mariah, a boxer dream”
(The Olympic Channel), telling the story of a Native American that wants
to go to the next Olympics. Sanket Jain (India) received it for Young
Reporter Special Coverage (People’s Archive of Rural India, India) for a
story about wrestlers which he wrote and photographed. José Ignacio
Pérez Hernández and Miguel Carbonero (Spain) received the a certificate
of merit for Interactive Reportage (Marca, Spain), a modern layout
telling the story of how one man, the current Colombian ambassador in
the US, was kidnapped by Pablo Escobar’s cartel and how football kept
Macfarlane, Ivy Nyayieka and Jo Shelley (UK) received the special
mention for Human Rights and Gender Equality, for Running as Equals
(CNN), a thorough report explaining from all possible perspectives the
transgender problem and the many athletes that were left behind by a
Bergonzi (Italy) received the mention for Outstanding Interview (La
Gazzetta dello Sport) following his rare one-on-one with Pope Francis,
in which he speaks about football, fair-play, the perils of doping and
other sports issues. And with his Documentary “Standing Firm: Football’s
windrush story” (BT Sport), on the Caribbean influence in British
football, Theo Lee Ray (UK) received a mention for Combatting racism and
discrimination in sport. From Uganda, Fred Mwambu was awarded for
Original Story, as he reported how COVID-19 tests were being manipulated
in order to rule out the best players when they had to play African
Champions League fixtures abroad, only to find out that they were
negative upon reentering (Monitor). Finally, Emiliano Nunia (Argentina)
received the Special Commandment for Audio Reporting (Radio Villa
Trinidad, Argentina), for interviewing the father of Pep Guardiola right
after the Champions League semifinal. Nunia lives in a very small town
but from there, he manages to make interviews that are picked all over
the end, photos representing the Silent Olympics were shown. It was a
memory of a very special Tokyo 2021. “It’s something really special. And
after this, we have to look to the future, and the next Award is the
future, in two days we will open the submissions to the next edition.
And I would like to call Sheikh Faisal Bin Ahmad Al Thani on stage,
because without him, we wouldn’t have been able to create this prize,”
said Gianni Merlo. “We hope to look in a better way for the future. And
that’s that I can announce that next year, we will go on an island,
Crete, in Greece. And in the 2024, it will be in París, to celebrate the
centennial of AIPS,” concluded Merlo.
the celebration on stage, and the final group photo, it came the moment
of selfies. And the AIPS Sport Media Awards, under the moon of Doha,
shined once again.
Congratulations to all winners, congratulations to
all participants, the EC members and Jury members, the AIPS staff, the
QSPC staff for creating this special ceremony. And for making it