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Global awards recognize the world’s best sport storytellers at glittering ceremony in Abu Dhabi

Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood: Hosting this monumental event confirms our stand on the development of media

Gianni Merlo: The awards prove that storytelling is key to successfully portraying the sport scene

Abu Dhabi, December 16, 2015:
The elite in sport journalism were awarded for their work at a
glittering ceremony in the UAE capital last night as the Sport Media
Pearl Awards, attended by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister
of Culture, Youth and Social Development, capped off a six-month journey
to find the best in sport media.

The evening at the Etihad Towers complex in Abu Dhabi welcomed a host of
notable faces from the world of sport as Italian footballer Alessandro
Del Piero joined NBA star Yao Ming and Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan

The Awards are the first internationally to be dedicated to awarding
excellence in the sport journalism industry and have seen a huge number
of submitted entries.

Last night, the finalists, along with sport media professionals from
around the world, convened at Etihad Towers as the final winners were
announced at the event hosted by former Olympic athlete Jonathan
Edwards. The winner of each category was awarded the prestigious Pearl
trophy and US$10,000 in prize money, with the second and third placed
finalists receiving US$5,000 each.

An expert executive committee led by the AIPS (International Sports
Press Association) studied more than 700 international submissions
across a range of categories from sport photography and weblog to
writing and audio. Eighty-five submissions were then shortlisted at an
event in Abu Dhabi in November.

The judging panel, led by AIPS President Gianni Merlo and consisting of
11 sport media professionals including Sport Media Pearl Awards Jury’s
Special Ambassador, Yao Ming, a former NBA All-Star, then began the
process of choosing three finalists for each category.

H.E. Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of Abu
Dhabi Media, said: “This ceremony represents a great achievement for the
finalists of the Sport Media Pearl Awards and also for Abu Dhabi as the
emirate strives to develop the outstanding talent there is in sport

“Abu Dhabi Media is a leading media organization and we continue to
foster talent in all aspects of the evolving media landscape. To be
associated with the very best in the world, and having them here in Abu
Dhabi, will add momentum to the process of inspiring excellence.”

Managed by AIPS and hosted by Abu Dhabi Media, the Sport Media Pearl
Awards have set out to celebrate the industry’s unsung heroes – the men
and women who bring the drama of sporting achievement to life for a
global audience. By showcasing the best in sport journalism, they aim to
help foster a new generation of talent.

The Awards recently completed a worldwide promotional tour visiting 14
countries and 15 major sport events, including the UEFA Champions League
Final in Berlin, the Special Olympics in Los Angeles and the European
Games in Baku. At each port of call, sport journalists were encouraged
to submit their work.

Gianni Merlo, President of AIPS, said: “The journey to the ceremony has
been exhilarating. It has been an absolute privilege to study the
incredible work of so many talented journalists in all forms of sport
media. The Sport Media Pearl Awards proves that the passion to tell the
story of sport is as strong as ever.”

Winners of a Pearl Trophy included Ricardo Erick (Granma, Cuba) and
Robbert Wijtman (CSC Sports Photography, Netherlands) in the Photography
category, Fiifi Anaman (, Ghana) and Mihir Vasavda (The
Indian Express, India) for Writing, Hajo Seppelt (ARD, Germany) and Zhu
He (Central Television, China) for video, Dario Ricci Radio24, Italy)
for Audio and Stefan Nestler (, Germany) Journalistic Weblog.

As well as the main journalistic categories, there were several special
categories, including Sport for a Better World, which focuses on
coverage dedicated to a sporting initiative and aims to improve the
lives of marginalized members of society. The winner of this category
was Paul Radley of The National newspaper in the UAE with US$50,000
being awarded to Christina Noble, the non-profit organization that was
the subject of Radley’s feature, “Street Kids Find Haven in Sport”.

Three further awards that were not open to submission – ‘A Life in
Sport’, ‘Investigative Reporting’ and ‘Best App’ – were won by Jimmy
Magee, Hajo Seppelt and L’Equipe respectively.

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