Values, courage, emotions and innovation: Meet the Special Mentions of Seoul ceremony

  • May 16, 2023

Since 2020, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, AIPS Sport Media Awards introduced the special commendations offered by AIPS to top-rated works whose values are aligned with the cornerstone values of the Association, regardless of the final result in their respective categories.

These values include defending Human Rights & gender equality, fighting against racism and all forms of discrimination, promoting a clean sports environment, offering hope towards sports, promoting sports as an answer to violence in conflict zones, reporting with independence and freedom, defending the importance of access to sources for interviews, contributing to the development of women’s sport, acknowledging the future of sports, detecting and featuring original sports stories, raising awareness about mental health, and presenting innovative ways of sports reporting, among others.

Added quality - "The introduction of these special mentions added a new layer of quality to our gala," said AIPS Awards director Martin Mazur. "This selection is not only based on the preferences shown by the 38 journalists that rate and vote the works during the five voting stages but also aligned with the values that are very important for AIPS, starting with the freedom of press, defending Human Rights and fighting against racism and discrimination, but at the same showing interest in the new generations and the new ways of presenting quality work, such as total reportage, long-form, remote and local reporting. If we also address the growth in numbers and quality of the submissions received, it's quite normal to think that on top of the 27 finalists, some other works are also worth mentioning, not just for the public's interest but also for journalists from all over the world, as a benchmark of quality that is badly needed".

Investigations - "It's the same with the investigative work. Originally, the category, not-open to submissions and not offering any prize money, was meant for one winning work, but at the same time, the number and level of investigations that we started to receive among the entries, gave AIPS President Gianni Merlo the possibility of expanding to three, and this year we've also added some mentions for investigative work, because every investigation is relevant, and conducted under very different conditions that we also need to address, which is why we also added Scoop and breaking news reporting" added Mazur.

Wider view - "There's also the fact that each category has a very specific description, and not all works might adjust perfectly. But that doesn't mean that these works are not relevant, accurate, beautiful or exceptional. It's, in the end, a new and necessary step for the future, showcasing where we stand, why we promote sport as a cultural tool to improve our society, but also what it's being done in terms of innovation with either large or very low budgets".

Presentation - During the Seoul ceremony, AIPS General Secretary Jura Ozmec and AIPS mentor Riccardo Romani introduced the 25 special mentions of 2022, for works that didn't reach the podium, but equally deserved a special note.

1) Human Rights and Gender Equality
Esther owusua Appiah-fei (Ghana) - 'I dreamed of representing Ghana in the Women's Africa Cup of Nations, instead I was beaten up' - The Telegraph
The stories of three brave African women footballers who voiced out their suffering and physical abuse for wanting to represent their countries and speak up against anti-gay laws.
2) Combatting Racism and Discrimination in Sport
Shireen Ahmed (Canada) - When Nazem Kadri hoisted the Stanley Cup, he lifted a whole community along with it – CBC
A heart-felt perspective of Canadian Muslim community's reaction to the first Muslim player to win a Stanley Cup, someone that suffered anti-Arab and anti-Muslim social media abuse in the account of the family’s cat.

3) Contributing to the Development of Women’s Sport
Jeremy Wilson (United Kingdom) - From Ian Wright to Dame Laura Kenny, stars back new Telegraph campaign to close gender prize-money gap - The Telegraph
With support from some of the biggest stars in British sport, Jeremy Wilson launched The Telegraph’s ‘Close the Gap’ campaign in 2022 to tackle the “shocking disparity” in sporting pay between men and women. Through extensive research and interviews with leading sportswomen, he revealed the extraordinary differences across the major sports and also the impact on women’s sport.
4) Safeguarding Journalism Working Conditions
Lolade Adewuyi (Nigeria) - Nigerian sports writers under threat of violence - Deutsche Welle
When Tobi Adepoju was attacked by fans of Shooting Stars after a football match, it wasn't a first-time occurrence. Many Nigerian sports journalists often face harassment — or worse — from clubs and fans.
5) Defending Freedom of Press
Saeedeh Fathabadi (Iran) - We Are Journalists, Not Culprits / A glimpse into the troubles of being a woman sports journalist in Iran - Hamshahri Javan Magazine
Saeedeh Fathabadi (Fathi) was imprisoned, interrogated and beaten for writing this article and submitting it in English for the AIPS Sport Media Awards. Agents pressured Shahrara news agency to remove the article from the site until it was deleted. Upon her release, she had to flee from Iran and is now in Austria seeking for asylum, while her family is still threatened. Her case is a testimony of the suffering of many independent reporters in Iran, some of them still in prison.
6) Promoting a Clean Sports Environment
Gaone Pearl Kerileng (Botswana) - Raising awareness about Anti-doping - Gabz FM and Gazette Stringer
An educational and informative piece to highlight the dangers of doping in Botswana and the importance of establishing a national antidoping agency.

7) Climate Change & Sustainable sport
David Garrido (United Kingdom) - Football's toughest opponent - Sky Sports
This documentary shows how football is being increasingly impacted by an ever-worsening climate crisis, how it contributes to its own carbon footprint, but also showcases the positive efforts being made and solutions being found to help football fight back against its toughest opponent.
8) Outstanding Interview
Christian González (Chile) - Luis Núñez: “A mí me gustaban el trago y las mujeres; ese fue mi gran error” - La Tercera
Convicted for murder in 2018, this is the first interview that the former Universidad Catolica star gives from Rancagua prison. And he claims his innocence.
9) Original Story
Xabier Fortes lópez (Spain) - “Doctor, please, I want to play” - Diario AS
For 12 years it was the best-kept secret of the recent World Cup history. Spain’s Xabi Alonso suffered a dramatic domestic accident hours before the 2010 semi-final. After finding him in a pool of blood, the doctor had a tough call: to cover up the serious injury without telling the coach so he could play against Germany. No one found out until this story was published.
10) Interactive Feature
Abraham Jiménez Enoa (Cuba) - La pelea imposible de Namibia Flores – Gatopardo
Long-form story with painstaking detail of the struggle of a Cuban female boxer in a country where only men are allowed in the ring. A complete 11,000-word package including audio, video and excellent photography performed by the author.
Young Reporter Special Commendation
11) Jonathan Harding (United Kingdom) - 'I'll die with cancer and can't change it but I can change these people's lives' - Racing Post
A unique story from a journalist embarked on a 1,000-mile rescue mission to the Ukrainian border, showing the humanity of the volunteers and horseracing's remarkable response to save horses and provide aid to the people.

12) Long-form Journalism
David Gardner (United States of America) - How a former NBA player and activist became a far-right media darling - Washington Post
From being a first-round pick in the NBA draft and emerging civil rights activist to becoming a far right populist, Royce White’s 3-000 word story shows the misuse of sports figures to influence politics.
13) Raising Awareness on Mental Health
Dariusz Faron (Poland) - First victory, then psychiatric hospital - Wirtualna Polska
Young athletes cannot always stand the pressure and expectations, which leads to mental illness and, in some cases, suicide attempts. In Poland, the mental health of athletes is not raised in the public debate. "Do we really have to wait for someone to be dead?", asks Marcin Kwiatkowski, the psychologist of the Polish Olympic Committee.
14) Photography Special Commendation
Peter Pobyjpicz (Germany) - Coming home Munich Olympia 1972: Euro 2022  -
Fifty years after the 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich once again hosted a multi-sport event: MUNICH 2022 EURO. Peter Pobyjpicz photographed it with a complete manual Leica camera, as it was done 50 years ago, with lenses that were already on the market in 1972. The short lenses (20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm) allowed him to create emotional actions.
15) Sport for Hope
Soobin Shin (Republic of Korea) - Batting on a Miracle - KBS
The residents of Deokjeok Island started a baseball team to save High School. A fantastic story of sacrifice and resilience that remind us why we love sports.
16) Special mentions on Investigative Work
Steve Menary (United Kingdom) - The English Patient  - Josimar
Jamie Alter (India) - On daily allowance of Rs 100, Uttarakhand cricketers worse off than unskilled workers - News9
Eduardo López Navarrete (Mexico) - The Sustainable Stadium of Yucatan hasn’t seen the light in almost two years - Diario AS

17) Excellence in Remote Reporting
Emmanuel Ayamga (Ghana) - Bombs, fear, iffy survival: The escape story of Ghanaian footballers in war-torn Ukraine - (Pulse Ghana)
The Ukrainian invasion seen from Ghana: As their footballers desperately tried to escape the country, they found plenty of barriers and racism in the borders.

18) Special Commendation on Local Reporting
Diego Domínguez (Uruguay) - The rookie doctor that saved Maradona from his first death - El Observador
Diego Maradona was about to die in Punta del Este in 2000. A doctor barely laureated one month before and with four days of work managed to save him. After keeping silent for many years, he was encouraged to tell everything he experienced in that episode.
19) Celebrating Sports History
Kata Olah (Hungary) - Conquering time Agnes Keleti - Makabor Studio
Documentary on the oldest Olympic Champion alive, 103-year-old Ágnes Keleti, from Hungary,the absolute star of gymnastics who made sport history of the 20st century winning 10 Olympic medals. The film follows her for over a period of one year until her 101st birthday, mixing old and new interviews, handmade animation and a rich mix of archive footage.
20) Docuseries Format
Sergio Ferraro, Juan Baldana (Argentina) - Sean Eternos - Campeones de América - Pegsa / Netflix
A four-episode documentary that put Argentina’s 45 million inhabitants to tears with amazing access to the winners of Copa America ahead of their World Cup winning campaign in Qatar.

21) Total Reportage
Jeremy Story Carter (Australia), Death of a Footy Club - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Visually-rich digital feature crafted and laid-out specifically with a mobile-first audience in mind, on how regional sporting clubs transform the idea of community from the abstract to something tangible. The story of the Quambatook Football and Netball Club in rural Australia is told across a photo-essay, with all material and photos gathered, produced and presented by the same reporter.

22) Scoop & Breaking News
James Corbett (Ireland) - Another Man City sponsor with seemingly no staff, no active products and being run out of a mailbox - Off The Pitch
This Off The Pitch investigation revealed how a company, seemingly with no staff, no active products and whose operating company is registered to a mailbox in London, is a longstanding official partner to Manchester City. The club’s commercial dealings have long come under scrutiny by governing bodies.
23) Special Commendation on Parasports
Govinda raj Nepal (Nepal) - For blind cricketers in Nepal, the sport is respect, recognition and life -
An insightful story on how blind cricket is helping people and giving opportunities for both men and women.
24) Sports for the Next Generation
José Ignacio Pérez Hernández (Spain), Niños rescatados por un balón - MARCA
In this excellent Marca feature broke down into episodes, AIPS Award winner José Ignacio Pérez Hernández depicts the value of football as a tool to rescue kids from war and offer them a future.

25) Special Report, Visual & Data Story
Stefan Berndl (Austria) - Final Formula 1 drama: Why Verstappen deserves to be world champion – Kurier
A data story of the 2021 Formula 1 season after the dramatic last race between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. The KURIER worked his way through the statistics and figures of the season and prepared them graphically.
Special Topic of the Year: Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The war has impacted on life and sport in Ukraine. Exceptional coverage coming from all over the world showed the invasion from diverse sporting angles across all platforms.

Miguel Gutierrez (Venezuela) - Without Justification - Agencia EFE
Mykola Synelnykov (Ukraine) - Stop War -
David Alvarez (Spain) - Reportage in Slovenia - El País
Jean-Michel Brochen (France) - L'insoutenable et la légèreté - L'Equipe Le Magazine
Alexandra Vladimirova (Russia) – BBC - Nadya Karpova: The Russia striker speaking out against war in Ukraine
Kateryna Godunova (Ukraine) - Story of Ukrainian high jumper Protsenko who escaped from the occupied Kherson region after 40 days - JSC "Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine"
Nick Hope (United Kingdom) - From fighting for silverware, to fighting for survival - Viktoriia Marachuk - ParaWomen's Sports Alliance (WSA)
Mark Temnycky (United States of America) - Ukraine’s sports stars aim to provide nation with a wartime morale boost - Atlantic Council  
Artem Terentiev (Ukraine) - Ukrainian futsal during a full-scale war: how is it living now? - Futsal site 5x5
Oleksiy Mandziy (Ukraine) - Sport facilities in Chernihiv destroyed by the Russian agressor - JSC "Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine"  


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