insidethegames's David Owen and Nick Butler are among the Sport Media Pearl Awards nominees ©AIPS

insidethegames’ chief columnist David Owen and senior reporter Nick Butler have today been named among the nominees ahead of next month’s inaugural International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Sport Media Pearl Awards in Abu Dhabi.

Owen is in the running for the "Writing Best Column" award, for his column "St Louis 1904 official report provides stark evidence of racism of time", which you can read here.   

Butler meanwhile is in contention for the "Journalistic Weblog" award, for his blog "Crash, bang, wallop as sports politics is turned on its head at SportAccord Convention", accessible here.

Launched at the Louvre Museum in Paris in March, the Sport Media Pearl Awards are the first international awards dedicated to the sport journalism industry.

The AIPS Executive Committee has been studying more than 700 submissions from around the world across a range of categories from sport photography and blogs to writing and audio.

Today, 85 shortlisted contenders in all categories were announced at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi during an event hosted by Britain's Olympic gold medal-winning triple jumper Jonathan Edwards.

The judging process will now begin to find the top three finalists in each category who will then be invited to Abu Dhabi for a lavish awards ceremony on December 15, with the chance to win the prestigious Pearl trophy, $10,000 (£6,500/€9,100), and second and third place prizes of $5,000 (£3,200/€4,600) each.

The judging panel is led by AIPS President Gianni Merlo and made up of 11 sport media professionals, including National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Yao Ming of China as the jury’s special ambassador of sport.

"This is a very proud moment for us as Abu Dhabi takes centre stage in an international award that recognises the important role played by journalists in the world of sport and encourages the development of excellence in the sport media field," said Mohammed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, chairman and managing director of Abu Dhabi Media.

"As a leading media organisation, we have a duty to foster talent by acknowledging those industry practitioners and enthusiasts across the globe whose reporting keeps the public engaged with sport."

 insidethegames reporters are in the running for awards in the
insidethegames reporters are in the running for awards in the "Writing Best Column" and "Journalistic Weblog" categories ©AIPS

The Sport Media Pearl Awards recently completed a worldwide promotional tour visiting four continents, 14 countries and 15 major sport events, including the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin, the Special Olympics in Los Angeles and the European Games in Baku, encouraging sports journalists to submit their work.

Managed by AIPS and hosted by Abu Dhabi Media, the Awards have set out to celebrate the industry’s unsung heroes - the men and women who bring the drama of sporting achievement to life for a global audience.

By showcasing the very best in sports journalism, they aim to help foster a new generation of talent.

"The Sport Media Pearl Awards play a very important role for the journalists' profession that has recently faced difficult times," said Merlo. 

"This event is an opportunity to show that journalism is still alive and still fighting for its principles.

"In the awarded pieces, as well as in all submitted works, we can rediscover the pleasure of sport as an instrument of global culture."

As well as the main journalistic categories, there are several special categories, including "Sport for a Better World", which focuses on coverage dedicated to a sporting initiative and aims to improve the lives of marginalised members of society.

In addition to the $10,000 first prize, $50,000 (£32,400/€45,700) will be awarded to the non-profit organisation that features in the winning story.

Three further awards that were not open to submission - "A Life in Sport", "Investigative Reporting" and "Best App" - will also recognise outstanding work in the industry.

When registrations officially opened for the Awards in March, journalists, radio and television reporters, photographers and videographers - on traditional and new media platforms - were invited to submit examples of their best work.

The Pearl trophy will be awarded to the winners of the Sport Media Pearl Awards. 

The image of the pearl holds particular significance for Abu Dhabi’s heritage, where pearl diving formed part of its emerging economy.

The pearl is also globally recognised as a symbol of uniqueness and superiority.

A list of all the nominations can be accessed by clicking here.