THE KEEJAY AWARDS

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

JUST WILLIAM: The Keejay Awards 2022

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You made it to the end of 2022, one of the most topsy turvy political years on record.

If you’re reading this then thank you very much for doing so, and I hope you have a wonderful new year and a great 2023. (Or an adequate one – I think we would all settle for adequate at this point).

This year’s awards are split between racing, other sports, media and then a couple of cultural awards. Thanks so much to David Stewart for uploading and to you all for reading.

Some of these categories will have honourable mentions – contenders who deserved a shout out but didn’t get winner or joint winner statuses – and some won’t, but no disrespect is ever intended. Not that the winners will care, to be honest. Away we go!

Culture + Posting

Most Divorced Man of the Year: The competition to take this has been more fearsome than any other award here, but Elon Musk’s sheer catastrophe at Twitter – and the insanity of his opinions, which he keeps on inflicting upon us (and yes, I keep consuming) gives him the top prize over Donald Trump.

TV Show of the Year: It’s fitting that the final series of Derry Girls came during Channel 4’s 40th anniversary because Lisa McGee’s creation is one of the finest works to hit British TV screens I can remember and with the turmoil we experienced this year, the finale – a coming of age birthday party set against the backdrop of the 1998 peace referendum – was a glorious sign off for a glorious show.

Honourable Mentions: Better Call Saul (Netflix), Top Boy (Netflix), Snowfall (FX), Frozen Planet II (BBC)

Documentary of the Year: Adam Curtis is much loved here and TraumaZone is brilliant, but his voice is missed from the epic visual collapse of Russia in the 90’s and the sheer calamity of Woodstock 99 takes the prize.

Movie of the Year: I’ve watched no films this year, so you get to decide and this was the best answer I saw on Twitter:

Best Album of 2022: I appreciate that the Swifties will come after me (and Midnights was incredible, as she is) but Kendrick Lamar is one of the artists of his generation and Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is a powerful journey of the sort he took us through with *that* Glastonbury performance. Can you believe that was this year?

The Best Post of 2022: 

Horse Racing

Flat Horse of the Year: The improvement shown by Highfield Princess – who started her year at Wolverhampton in February – is nothing short of remarkable and her hat-trick of Group 1 successes in the summer was an unbelievable feat. That longevity gives her the nod over Baaeed and Flightline, who dazzled with their best performances but didn’t run nearly as much – Arc winner Alpinista is an unlucky loser here, as is the superstar stayer Kyprios.

Honourable Mentions: Baaeed (William Haggas), Flightline (John Sadler), Alpinista (Sir Mark Prescott), Kyprios (Aidan O’Brien)

Jumps Horse of the Year: Constitution Hill has only raced five times over hurdles but he’s taken four Grade 1 races by 65 lengths, including two emphatic defeats of a former champion hurdler, all with Nico de Boinville barely extended. A shout here for Edwardstone, who was flawless apart from an easily forgivable off day at Aintree and a rare jumping lapse at Kempton, and the brilliant Honeysuckle, perhaps unfairly maligned since her Hatton’s Grace defeat. L’Homme Presse’s improvement was extraordinary too.

Honourable Mentions: Edwardstone (Alan King), Honeysuckle (Henry de Bromhead), L’Homme Presse (Venetia Williams)

Racing’s Unsung Heroes of the Year: As ever, all the staff who make the sport work no matter what the conditions – something important to remember in a year when we’ve had 40-degree heat and Blizzards.

Flat Race of the Year: For a mix of quality and a close finish – with some hard luck thrown in – the Coral Eclipse is a hard one to top. Three Group 1 winners locked together, a big salute at the end, and one of the year’s top horses taking victory.

Jumps Race of the Year: The Clarence House Chase

Sports – (Non Racing)

Men’s Footballer of the Year: Who else but Lionel Messi? One of the greatest to ever play the sport finally got his World Cup and he did it in truly magical style, with skill, grace, flair and relentless energy. Whilst winning the World Cup has clearly put him over the top here, although he’d been brilliant for PSG since the summer too as Qatar approached. Kylian Mbappe continues to dazzle and more success surely awaits, Erling Haaland could have broken every record in the book by this time next year, and Karim Benzema – a deserved Ballon d’Or winner after his brilliant year with Real Madrid – is one of many who’s worth a mention.

Honourable Mentions: Kylian Mbappe (PSG & France), Erling Haaland (Manchester City & Norway), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid & France)

Women’s footballer of the Year: It’s a tremendous shame that Beth Mead’s suffered an ACL injury because her sensational form for Arsenal and England heroics have inspired a generation this year and her Sports Personality Of The Year award was richly deserved. ACL injuries have blighted the women’s game this year, with Alexia Putellas ruled out in the summer.

Sam Kerr remains an absolutely brilliant goalscorer for Chelsea and Australia whilst Lionesses Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze are now part of the Barcelona juggernaut, but don’t forget Lena Oberdorf’s brilliant work with Germany this year – all at just 20 years old (turned 21 last week).

Honourable Mentions: Sam Kerr (Chelsea & Australia), Lena Oberdorf (Germany and Wolfsburg), Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze (Barcelona and England)

Men’s Cricketer of the Year: You could pick almost any of the England team and make a solid case for them, but Babar Azam scored 2,598 runs in all formats and could fit into a World XI in all three formats. The leading run scorer in tests despite playing less matches than his nearest rivals, he deserves recognition for a remarkable year.

Honourable Mentions: Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Joe Root, Ollie Robinson (England), Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja (Australia), Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)

Women’s Cricketer of the year: White ball dominates here due to the structure of the women’s game. A number of players were outstanding with bat and ball, but Laura Wolvaardt arguably had the biggest all round impact, scoring 403 runs for the Adelaide Strikers as they won the Women’s Big Bash before topping the run scoring charts with 286 runs for Northern Superchargers in the Hundred.

Honourable Mentions: Nat Sciver, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross (England) Smriti Mandhana (India) and Beth Mooney (Australia)

Men’s Road Cyclist of the Year: This was the year that Remco Evenepoel truly fulfilled all his promise, first ending the 44 year wait for a Belgian Grand Tour winner before his stunning World Championship road race win. The youngest world champion in 29 years, and just the fourth rider to add a world title to a Monument and Grand Tour win in the same season, the sky appears to be the limit for cycling’s newest megastar – although we are currently in a golden age of big hitters including Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard, Slovenian superstars Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, and Eritrean sensation Biniam Girmay to name just a few.

Honourable Mentions: Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) Tadej Pogacar (Team UAE) and Biniam Girmay (Intermache)

Women’s Road Cyclist of the Year: All hail Annemiek van Vleuten. Winner of all three Grand Tours and the World Championships – with a broken elbow, no less! – the Dutch powerhouse wrote her name into the history books again and again.

A shout out to the relentless Lorena Wiebes – surely the fastest woman in road racing – the legendary Marianne Vos, the brilliantly engaging Cecile Uttrup Ludwig and Elisa Longo Borghini, who took apart Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

Honourable Mentions: Lorena Wiebes (DSM), Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo)

Men’s Rugby player of the Year: A repeat win for Antoine Dupont, who was the 6 Nations Player of the Tournament as France claimed their first Grand Slam and championship title in the Six Nations since 2010, before playing a crucial part in France’s unbeaten Autumn campaign. French winger Damian Penaud also had a great year, Ange Capuozzo shone for Italy, whilst the two’s Tadhg’s (Furlong and Beirne) along with Josh van der Flier give Ireland incredible pack strength.

Honourable Mentions: Damian Penaud (France & Clermont), Ange Capuozzo (Italy & Toulouse), whilst Tadhg Furlong & Tadhg Beirne ((Leinster and Munster, Ireland) & Josh van der Flier (Ireland and Leinster)

Women’s Rugby player of the Year: Here’s one of my favourite quotes of the sporting year. “Ruby Tui. Ruby is how you grow the game. Fun, flair, honesty, humility, commitment, personality, skill.”

There were a number of outstanding performers in the women’s game this year – I could have chosen any of the Black Ferns that took the prize, and England were unlucky to lose that final – but Tui’s impact off the field and her all court game under the highest pressure gives her the award.

Honourable Mentions: Abby Dow (England & Harlequins), Ruahei Demant (Black Ferns)

Media

Editor of The Year: Two winners here, both of whom have stepped up to the plate when confronted with massive stories. Sky’s Deborah Haynes has provided incredible coverage of the war in Ukraine whilst the BBC’s technology editor Zoe Kleinman has provided essential (and understandable) coverage of the biggest stories in technology.

Audio Creator of the Year: A really tough choice with so many organisations investing in audio and producing brilliant content. The joint winners are Dino Sofos, whose new audio company Persephonica have already produced hits the The News Agents and Dua Lipa At Your Service, and Basia Cummings, one of the key forces behind the brilliant Pig Iron at Tortoise.

Podcast Producer of the Year: Again, a year where many impressed, and the award goes to Danny Wittenberg. In one of the most eventful years in British political history, Newscast provided round the clock coverage with a fantastic range of guests and features – and managed to provide meaningful coverage away from Westminster to boot.

Radio Editor of The Year: The Today programme has it’s detractors but it’s ability to produce quality radio has not disappeared and assistant editor Louisa Lewis’s handprints can be seen across the guest episodes, especially those of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Björn from ABBA. Worth listening back if you can!

Think Tank of The Year: The Resolution foundation’s work is often depressing – there’s nothing that can be done about that in a cost of living crisis as dire as this one – but they have done as much work as anyone.

Honourable Mentions: Institute for Government, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Sports Journalism

Racing Broadcaster of the Year: The sheer energy, class and longevity that Nick Luck’s shown – including finding the time for a daily podcast – makes him a most deserving winner of this award, beating off tough competition from plenty at RTV and Sky Sports Racing.

Honourable Mentions: Hayley Moore (Sky Sports Racing), Johnny Ward (RTV, Irishracing.com)

Men’s Football Writer of the Year: Using this to pay tribute to the brilliant Grant Wahl. He leaves a huge legacy, and his outstanding work will never be forgotten.

Women’s Football Writer of the Year: This category just keeps on improving – like the sport itself – and Flo Lloyd-Hughes has shone in a huge year for the game. She and Suzy Wrack have nailed down their places as the elite writers in the women’s game over the past three years.

Honourable Mention: Katie Whyatt (The Athletic)

Tactical analyst of the Year: Jasmine Baba remains a class ahead when it comes to her knowledge of German football whilst being criminally underused by other platforms (just a thought!).

If you made it this far, I’d like to say two things.

Firstly, thank you so much for reading – and for all your support this year!

Secondly, if I made a glaring omission – and that includes you – then please do accept my apologies!

Happy New Year,

WILLIAM KEDJANYI


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