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Naomi Osaka helps a butterfly at the Open: Sports Photography of the Year Award 2022

World Sports Photography Awards 2022
(Image credit: David Gray)

An image captured by the photojournalist and Reuters photographer David Gray at the 2021 Australian Open of the moment has won the latest Sports Photography of the Year Award.

David's creative capture shows a moment when the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka helped out a butterfly on court. Rather than photograph the tennis player holding the butterfly, David chose to focus on the shadow of the event. A creative sports shooter, this is characteristic of David's approach when using light and shade in dynamic ways.

• Looking for the best camera for sports photography (opens in new tab)?

There were more than 7,000 entries from professional sports photographers to choose from in this year's Award, which is now in its third year. Against so much competition, the judges felt that David's image revealed a more delicate moment, reflecting the beauty and power within sport.

“This is a breathtaking image. Sports Photography captures special moments and tells unique stories, but most of all it draws you in and reveals the unexpected," says Simon Burton, Co-Founder of the World Sports Photography Award. "It forces you to look again and reconsider."

The World Sports Photography Awards are the only global awards for sport photography and are entered by some of the world’s best sports photographers. The awards are judged by leading experts from the world of sport, media, and creative outlets, including partners MPB – an online platform for buying and selling photography gear who often offer their advice on the best Wise Buys (opens in new tab).

Sophie Collins, Chief Marketing Officer at MPB said “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. 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!”

David's image is just one of 24 other winning images across different sporting categories including American Football, Basketball, Cycling, Gymnastics and Football. We've picked out a few of our favorites below.

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Joel Marklund)

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Marian Chytka)

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Dustin Satloff)

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Steve Haag)

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

(Image credit: Muhammad Arbaz)

Find out more about the World Sports Photography Award (opens in new tab) and check out all the winning images from this year's competition.

If you're feeling inspired by these winning sports images and want to improve your own skills, why not take a look at the best 70-200mm lenses (opens in new tab) and these 5 tips for becoming a sports photographer (opens in new tab).

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Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.