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Record entries for sports journalism awards

Judges for this year’s British Sports Journalism Awards will be kept extremely busy after organisers received a record number of entries.

The photography categories have seen 121 entries while other prizes have welcomed 229 submissions – both representing a 10pc hike on last year.

The 37-strong judging panel of sports editors past and present along with other industry experts has already begun sifting through the entries.

Peter Wilson, head of judges for the writing and cartoonist awards, said: “We are delighted by this response. Sports journalists are fighting back after a terrible year for our profession job-wise, both nationally and in the regions.”

Barry Newcombe, chairman of competition organiser the Sports Journalists’ Association, added: “It is well known that the SJA journalism and photographic awards are judged by professionals who know the business inside out and that is reflected in an increase in entries.

“It will be interesting to see which events from 2008 were used by entrants for their submissions, because there were some huge performances throughout the whole year.”

The SJA said there were many more freelance entries for this year’s awards while the Young Sports Writer category has seen a 330pc increase in entries after the age limit was raised from 25 to 30.

Among last year’s winners were Press Association’s Gareth Copley who took Sports Photographer of the Year, while The Scotman’s Mike Aitken won top Regional Sports Writer with the Cumberland News’ Mike Colman highly commended.

Short lists will be announced towards the end of February and presentation of the awards takes place on 9 March at The Brewery, in London.

Tickets for the event are available from Sandra Phillips on sandra@s2fevents.co.uk or by telephoning 0208 916 2234.