Aitken picks up award

A SCOTSMAN newspaper sports writer has won the ‘Regional sportswriter of the year’ title at awards organised by his peers.

Mike Aitken was awarded the title on Monday night, at the ceremony hosted by the Sports Journalists’ Association.

Also among the winners was Martin Samuel, of The Times, who became the first person in the Association’s 60-year history to win the ‘Sports writer of the year’ accolade for a third consecutive year.

Samuel, who previously worked for the News of the World, topped a poll of national newspaper sports editors in the annual competition.

In praising Samuel one judge said: “He took the plunge back into daily papers but still maintained – even surpassed – the remarkable quality and clarity that has hallmarked his writing and thinking for many years.”

Runner-up was Paul Hayward of the Daily Mail, with Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror third.

Chris Smith, formerly with the Sunday Times and a past winner of the ‘Sports photographer of the year’, received the Doug Gardner Trophy for services to sports journalism.

The winners’ list reads:

Sports writer: Martin Samuel (The Times)

Sports photographer: Gareth Copley (Press Association)

Specialist correspondent: Kevin Garside (Daily Telegraph)

Sports columnist: Simon Barnes (The Times) and Oliver Holt (Daily Mirror)

Sports feature writer: Matthew Syed (The Times)

Sports interviewer:
Paul Kimmage (Sunday Times)

Sports news reporter: Neil Harman (The Times)

Sports diarist: Charles Sale (Daily Mail)

Sports story: David Norrie (News of the World) – for ‘Fredalo’, involving England cricketer, Andrew Flintoff

Regional sports writer: Mike Aitken (The Scotsman)

Internet sports reporter
: Matt Slater (

Young sports writer: Oliver Brown (Daily Telegraph)

Sports team: Sunday Times’ Tour de France coverage

Sports picture: Carl Recine (Action Images)

Sports news picture
: Marc Aspland (The Times)

Specialist sports portfolio: Gareth Copley (Press Association)

Sports portfolio: Paul Gilham (Getty Images)

Young sports photographer
: Matthew Childs (Action Images)

Sports broadcaster
: Jeff Stelling (Sky Sports)

Sports programme
: SportsWeek (BBC Radio 5Live)

Sports cartoonist: Nick Newman (Sunday Times)