Sports photographer David Gray has won the top prize at the World Sports Photography Awards for his image of tennis player Naomi Osaka rescuing a butterfly at the 2021 Australian Open.
The winning photo captures the moment play was interrupted by the insect before Osaka gently removed it from the court. But not before it had landed on her face.
💜 💛 🦋 @naomiosaka | @sabrina_i20 pic.twitter.com/kd0rB1w8dA
— espnW (@espnW) February 12, 2021
“This is a breath-taking image. Sports Photography captures special moments and tells unique stories, but most of all it draws you in and reveals the unexpected. It forces you to look again and reconsider,” the World Sports Photography Awards, Co-Founder, Simon Burton says.
Over 7,000 images were submitted to the awards from professional sports photographers around the world. In total, there were 24 winning images across sports categories including American Football, Basketball, Cycling, Gymnastics, and Soccer. The competition is the only global award for sports photography.
Some of the pictures came from the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics held in Tokyo. A stunning black and white image of Alexa Szvitacs serving the ball during the Women’s Doubles table tennis was the winner of the Racquet Sports category.
Szvitacs was an elite table tennis player for Hungary, but in the summer of 2018, she was affected by an illness that resulted in life-threatening complications, and the loss of her left forearm and parts of both feet.
Sports is full of emotion and images such as Formula One driver kicking his Red Bull car after it had failed him at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix exemplify this. So do the images from the locker room of the Army Black Knights as they prepare for a football game.
“As a judge, and as a sponsor of the 2022 ‘World Sports Photography Awards’ I was incredibly impressed by the quality of this year’s entries,” says Sophie Collins, Chief Marketing Officer at MPB who 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 how the viewer feels and inspires them. It was great to see some new faces in the ‘Pro’ space being shortlisted for the awards too, the bar has definitely been raised for next year.”
You can visit the the awards’ website here.