Already recognised for its outstanding quality by being crowned William Hill Sports Book of the Year last autumn, Ronald Reng’s brilliant biography of tragic German football star Robert Enke completed a memorable double when the judges at the 2012 British Sports Book Awards determined it to be the best in the Football Book category.
A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke (Yellow Jersey), the story of the German national team goalkeeper who took his own life while suffering from depression, was voted top of the pile among a strong field that included former Manchester City player Paul Lake’s wonderful autobiography I’m Not Really Here and Ian Ridley’s assessment of the impact of the Premier League, There’s A Golden Sky.
Cricket writer Chris Waters, meanwhile, scooped his third award when Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography (Aurum Press) was named Cricket Book of the Year.
The Yorkshire Post cricket correspondent’s highly acclaimed life of the Yorkshire and England fast bowler has already been named Wisden Book of the Year and MCC-Cricket Society Book of the Year.
Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson (Simon & Schuster) won the Autobiography/Biography award for Paul Kimmage for his story of the life of the England Under-21 prop forward who was paralysed from the neck down in a freak training ground accident.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Matt Hampson said that he was ‘gobsmacked’ and speechless to win and added that it was fantastic to be at the awards and to be recognised for the book. Kimmage played tribute to Hampson’s spirit saying that he was an 'amazing person' who had been faced with the choice ‘to get busy living or get busy dying – Matt chose to get busy living.’
Andy Farrell took the Golf Book of the Year prize for his excellent 100 Greatest Ever Golfers (Elliott & Thompson) and Clare Drysdale from Allen & Unwin won the award for best publicity campaign for her work promoting Run! on behalf of ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes.
Higgy: Matches, Microphones and MS (A & C Black), the personal story of England rugby rugby turned commentator Alastair Hignell and his battle with multiple sclerosis won the Rugby Book of the Year award.
Best Illustrated title was judged to be Wimbledon: Visions of the Championships (Vision Sports Publishing), featuring photographs by sports photographer Bob Martin, while another heavily illustrated title, Beyond the Frame (Racing Post Books) won the Racing Book of the Year prize for Racing Post photographer Edward Whitaker.
Philip Porter's Ultimate E-Type: The Competition Cars (Porter Press International) was named Motorsports Book of the Year and Waterstones was named Sports Book Retailer of the Year.
The winners were announced last night at The Savoy Hotel in London at an awards ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British Sports Book Awards.
All the category winners now go into a public online vote to find the best overall sports book of the year. The vote opened at 10am today and runs until June 10.
To vote go to: www.britishsportsbookawards.co.uk. The winner will be announced on June 11.
Last night’s ceremony also included a special presentation to Nick Hornby, author of Fever Pitch, of the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing award. The groundbreaking Fever Pitch, a biographical work in which Hornby, as an Arsenal fan, linked events in his life with a timeline of matches, was published 20 years ago. Hornby recalled last night that the first time he went to an Arsenal match on his own 40 years ago it had cost him 15p.
Highlights from the British Sports Book Awards will be shown on Sky Sports on Friday and Saturday (May 25 and 26) at the following times:
Saturday: 18:30 Sky Sports 4; 21:00 Sky Sports 3.
Sunday: 02:00 Sky Sports 3; 07:00 Sky Sports 3; 10:00 Sky Sports 2.
The full list of winners (follow the links for more information and to buy).
Football: A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke (Yellow Jersey), by Ronald Reng
Cricket: Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography (Aurum), by Chris Waters
Rugby: Higgy: Matches Microphones and MS (A&C Black), by Alastair Hignell
Golf: The 100 Greatest Ever Golfers (Elliott & Thompson), by Andy Farrell
Motorsport: Ultimate E-type: The Competition Cars (Porter Press International), by Philip Porter
Biography/Autobiography: Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson Book, by Paul Kimmage
Horse Racing: Beyond the Frame: More Racing Photographs (Racing Post Books), by Edward Whitaker
New Writer: The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn't Stop (Mainstream), by Bill Jones
Illustrated Title: Wimbledon: Visions of the Championships (Vision Sports), by Bob Martin
Publicity Campaign: Clare Drysdale (Allen & Unwin) for Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss, by Dean Karnazes
Best retailer: Waterstones
Special award: Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby