Naomi Osaka Saving Butterfly Wins World Sports Photography Awards

Japan’s Naomi Osaka removes a butterfly from her dress as she plays against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 12, 2021 | David Gray

Sports photographer David Gray has won the top prize at the World Sports Photography Awards for his image of tennis player Naomi Osaka saving a butterfly at the 2021 Australian Open.

The winning photo captures the moment the game was interrupted by the insect before Osaka gently removed it from the field. But not before it landed on her face.

“It’s a breathtaking image. Sports photography captures special moments and tells unique stories, but most importantly, it draws you in and reveals the unexpected. It forces you to look again and reconsider,” says Simon Burton, co-founder of the World Sports Photography Awards.

Lukas Rohan of the Czech Republic in the rowing slalom at the 2020 Olympics | Morgan’s Treaty
Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) catches the ball over Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory | Kevin Jairaj
Isaac Julian Morillas Sanchez
Richard Pelham
mohamed arbaz
The peloton passes through Siena, Italy, during stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia 2021. Photographed with a Nikon Z7ii and a Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S | Ashley and Jered Gruber

More than 7,000 images were submitted for the awards by professional sports photographers around the world. In total, there were 24 winning images across all sports categories, including American football, basketball, cycling, gymnastics and soccer. The contest is the world’s only award for sports photography.

Some of the images are from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A stunning black and white image of Alexa Szvitacs serving the ball during women’s doubles table tennis was the winner in the Racket Sports category.

Szvitacs was an elite table tennis player for Hungary, but in the summer of 2018 she was hit with an illness which led to life-threatening complications and the loss of her left forearm and parts of her two feet.

Goring ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 To Win At Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton Racecourse | Mike Egerton
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Red Bull Racing kicks his tire as he reacts after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at the Baku circuit | Clive Rose
John Barry
Bryson DeChambeau of Team USA plays his shot on the ninth hole during Saturday afternoon’s fourball matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 25, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin | Richard Heathcote
The women’s 100 meters T63 medalists, from left, Monica Graziana Contrafatto, bronze, Ambra Sabatini, gold, and Martina Caironi, silver, all Italian, celebrate after the race at the Olympic Stadium on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo | Sam Barnes
Catalin Preda from Romania dives from the 27 meter platform | Morgan’s Treaty
Wilson Catoe #42 of the Army Black Knights, Cade Barnard #40 of the Army Black Knights and Jakobi Buchanan #33 of the Army Black Knights in the locker room before the start of a game against the Midshipmen at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey | Dustin Satloff
Lexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the Women’s Doubles Table Tennis match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games | Donald Miralle

Sport is full of emotions and images such as the Formula 1 driver kicking his Red Bull car after it dropped him at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix are examples of this. The same goes for footage from the Army Black Knights locker room as they prepare for a football game.

Eloise Sanchez de Alba
Linn Persson of Sweden zeroes before the Women’s 7.5km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships on February 13, 2021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia | Joel Marklund
Guan Chenchen of China wins the gold medal as she performs on balance beam in the women’s artistic gymnastics apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics | Ashley Landis
Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony | Mark Edward Harris
Adolis Garcia #53 of the Texas Rangers scores a home run away from Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at T-Mobile Park on May 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington | Abbie Parr
Ian MacNicol

“As a judge and sponsor of the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of this year’s entries,” said Sophie Collins, Marketing Director at MPB, which sponsored the awards.

“Photography captures a moment in time, the emotion, the ups and downs. It tells a story that has the power to change the way the viewer feels and inspires them. It was great to see new faces in the ‘Pro’ space being shortlisted for the awards too, the bar has certainly been raised for next year. »

You can visit the awards website here.

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