Aitken scores again at sports awards, as McIlvanney is accorded lifetime achievement accolade

A FORMER long-standing sports writer at The Scotsman newspaper is again among the prizes at awards celebrating the best of sports journalism.

For the second time in three years, Mike Aitken has been named ‘Regional journalist of the year’ at the British Sports Journalism awards, which also chose Scot, Hugh McIlvanney as the recipient of the Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism and the [organisers of the awards] Sports Journalism Association.

After 36 years at The Scotsman, Aitken left last year to go freelance. Latterly, he was the paper’s golf writer.

Said the judges: “He’s a class act who could write for anyone.”

The winning articles (all appearing in The Scotsman) included pieces looking back on his career at The Scotsman and on golfer, Tom Watson, and the late racing driver, Jim Clark..

The BSJA winners read:

Live blog: Tom Fordyce ( Highly commended: Rob Smyth (

Cartoonist: Paul Wood (Private Eye). Nick Newman (Sunday Times).

Radio programme: Test Match Special (BBC). Runner-up: 5Live Sport (BBC).

Feature writer: Owen Slot (The Times). Highly commended: Donald McRae (The Guardian).

Young photographer: Andrew Matthews (Press Association). Highly Commended: Scott Heavey (Action Images), Paul Thomas (freelance)

TV programme: Test match cricket (Sky Sports). Runner-up: Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports).

Regular blog or column: Lawrence Booth ( Highly commended: Edward Gorman (

Regional writer: Mike Aitken (freelance). Highly commended: Amanda Little (Cumbrian Newspapers)

News picture: Eddie Keogh (freelance). Highly commended: Andrew Couldridge (Action Images), Mike Hewitt (Getty Images)

News reporter: David Conn (The Guardian). Highly commended: Paul Kelso (Daily Telegraph).

Specialist correspondent: Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph). Highly commended: Michael Atherton (The Times).

Specialist photographer: Toby Melville (Reuters). Highly commended: Laurence Griffiths (Getty Images), Scott Heavey (Action Images) and Eddie Keogh (freelance)

Young writer (the Ian Wooldridge Trophy): Oliver Brown (Daily Telegraph). Highly commended: Laura Williamson (Daily Mail).

Sports story: Paul Kelso (Daily Telegraph – “Bloodgate”). Highly commended: David Conn (The Guardian – “Hillsborough cover up”).

Diarist: David Hills (Observer). Highly commended: Charles Sale (Daily Mail).

Betting writer: Steve Palmer (Racing Post). Highly commended: Derek McGovern (Daily Mirror).

Portfolio: Scott Heavey (Action Images). Highly Commmended: Tom Jenkins (The Guardian and Observer) and Toby Melville (Reuters)

Columnist: Michael Atherton (The Times). Highly commended: Oliver Holt (Daily Mirror).

Internet writer: Kevin Eason ( and Duncan Mackay (

Interviewer: Donald McRae (The Guardian). Highly commended: Matt Lawton (Daily Mail).

Radio broadcaster: Jonathan Agnew (BBC). Runner-up: John Inverdale (BBC).

TV Broadcaster: Jeff Stelling (Sky Sports). Runner-up: Clare Balding (BBC).

Picture of the year: Gareth Copley (Press Association). Highly commended: Andrew Couldridge (Action Images) and Hugh Routledge (freelance)

Team of the year: Daily Telegraph – The Ashes. Highly commended: Guardian and Observer – The Ashes.

Sports photographer of the year: Scott Heavey (Action Images)

Sports writer of the year: Michael Atherton (The Times).

Runner-up: Paul Hayward (Observer). Third: David Conn (The Guardian).

Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism and the SJA: Hugh McIlvanney