Looking at the stars in a warm night, between the desert and the sea, the fourth edition of the AIPS Sport Media will come to a close. It will be magical, as magical as we used to dream when COVID-19 confined us all to a never-ending lockdown, affecting our mobility, our access to venues and our possibility to work.
In the year of the World Cup in Qatar, all eyes naturally point to Doha. As the world kept lifting travel restrictions and life went slowly back to normal, we asked ourselves: could there be a more perfect choice to gather the world’s best sports storytellers than the Qatari capital?
Doha is definitely the place where every sports journalist in the world would like to be in 2022, and clearly no other place was more spot-on than Doha to celebrate the fourth edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards, the only global prize for sports journalism, marking the reunion that we all dreamed of.
But where in Doha, considering its wide range of venues? A state of the art museum? An amphitheatre? A bright hotel ballroom? All of them would have been excellent choices, but none can beat a football stadium, right? And what about a 2022 World Cup football stadium? With the invaluable help of the Qatari Sports Press Committee, we transformed the question mark into a reality.
Yes, on June 12, starting at 19:30 local time (AST), the finalists of the 9 categories will be on stage at Khalifa International Stadium, the stadium that will host 8 World Cup games in November and December (from England-Iran on November 21 to the 3rd place play-off on December 17), to find out the winners of the 2021 edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards, that this year gathered 1732 submissions from a record 133 countries.
It will be a perfect closure for a very long journey. After the initial selection by the panel of specialists and AIPS mentors, the task was put in the hands of the AIPS Executive Committee members, that narrowed the longlists into shortlists to be presented to the Jury.
In April, the Jury met in Italy for the next rounds of voting. All the shortlists were presented and discussed in a packed-week. Each category was voted and the Top 10 finalists were drawn and published.
Now, it’s time to unveil the podium nominees that will be invited to the final gala. The Jury will meet one day before, on June 11, to make the last voting session.
Before finding out their final positions (with prizes ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 USD per category) at Khalifa Stadium, nominees will find the opportunity to visit the 3-2-1 Sports Museum, another bridge between sports and culture, one of the cornerstone values of the AIPS Sport Media Awards.
As we usually say, all of them are winners, not just because they’ve overcome a very tough competition in terms of number and quality, but also because they automatically raise the bar for the next generations, becoming an example in video making, audio, photography and writing.
Attendees will have the chance of having a valuable snapshot of Qatar as it prepares for the final test before the World Cup. Continental rankings with the best works per region will also be announced the week after the ceremony, before opening the submission period for the 2022 edition.
During the worst stage of the pandemic, that forced us to organise the Vigevano Castle online ceremony due to the lockdown and travel restrictions, we would imagine how and when that reunion could happen, if ever. Now we know all the answers. It will be at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, on June 12, 2022, in a gala full of surprises and broadcast live to the rest of the world.
Luckily, the future has come and now it’s time to celebrate together.
Shuaeeb Is a seasoned sportswriter, social worker, and philanthropist. He has been renowned for his support of disabled sports persons and championing for equal rights and opportunities for all sports persons. He is also a father of 4 children and married to His partner Moana who is of Australian descent. He currently does sports volunteering and disability support work aside from writing for this August media.