Wright, Vunipola and Fallon pick up Sports Book awards

Wright, Vunipola and Fallon pick up Sports Book awards

Martine Wright has won the Autobiography of the Year Award at the 2018 Sports Book Awards.

The event on Thursday night (7th June) also saw Billy Vunipola scoop the Rugby Book of the Year prize and Kieren Fallon take home the International Autobiography of the Year.

Wright's book Unbroken tells story of the courageous 7/7 bombings survivor who became a GB Paralympian, recounting her inspirational journey in a "truly outstanding" piece of work, said the judges.

She was presented with her award by Dame Katherine Grainger, who headed up a judging panel that included 2017 Autobiography winner Joey Barton, chairman of European Rugby Simon Halliday, sport editor of for the Mail on Sunday Alison Kervin and Olympian Christine Ohuruogu.

Grainger said: “Yet again all the authors on the shortlist gave us an incredibly tough challenge to select just one winner. The standard was very impressive and after much discussion, debate, and healthy argument we have settled on the inspirational and thought provoking story by Martine Wright.”

Billy Vunipola, Saracens and England's Number 8, was awarded the London Sporting Club Rugby Book of the Year prize, as judged by The Rugby Writers, whilst James Montague's probe into football's super rich owners The Billionaires Club won the Coutts Football Book of the Year, judged and sponsored by The Football Writers Association and Coutts respectively.

Montague's book triumphed over a list of past and present managerial greats, including Sir Matt Busby, Mauricio Pochettino and Bob Paisley. The award was presented to him by former Chelsea Captain & Kick it Out ambassador, Paul Elliott.

A special award recognising Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing was given to 92-year-old cricket writer John Woodcock. The esteemed writer's career included 35 years as a cricket correspondent for The Times, and seven years as editor of the Wisden Almanack. The tribute included words from Sky Sports and The Times cricket writer Michael Atherton and Channel 5 cricket broadcaster Mark Nicholas, with his award collected by former England Captain and Sky Sports pundit Bob Willis.

Neal's book Over and Out, Albert Trott won The Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year, with Andy McGrath's Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire picking up The Full Time Cover Cycling Book of the Year award from David Millar, the 4 times Tour de France stage-winning cyclist.

In a great night for Horse Racing, the six-time champion jockey and three-time Derby Winner Kieren Fallon received the Cross International Autobiography of the Year. Fallon was one of the world's greatest jockeys, but his career was not without controversy, and his award-winning book is a "brutally honest" account of his life on and off the track. Centaur collected the Right to Play General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year, with Ami Rao and jockey Declan Murphy recounting his "heart-breaking, yet inspirational story".

The Times Biography of the Year award was awarded to Jonathan Eig's comprehensive account of Muhammed Ali.

The Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year was awarded to The History Makers. The story of the "incredible Olympic Gold medal success for GB women's Hockey team, a winning-run that gripped the nation", said the judges.

The 16th 2018 Sports Book Awards were hosted by Sky Sports presenter Jacquie Beltrao.

Each of the nine winning titles will now be put to an online public vote on the award's website to determine the overall Sports Book of the Year. The public vote is open until midday on Friday 15th June, with the winner announced shortly afterwards.

This year's winners in full:

Cross International Autobiography of the Year

Form by Kieren Fallon (Simon & Schuster)

Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year

The History Makers by Sarah Juggins and Richard Stainthorpe (Pitch Publishing)

The Times Biography of the Year

Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Simon & Schuster)

Right To Play General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year

Centaur by Declan Murphy & Ami Rao (Black Swan, Transworld Publishers)

The Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year

Over and Out, Albert Trott by Steve Neal (Pitch Publishing)

Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing

John Woodcock

Coutts Football Book of the Year

The Billionaires Club by James Montague (Bloomsbury)

Full Time Cover Cycling Book of the Year

Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire by Andy McGrath (Rapha)

The London Sporting Club Rugby Book of the Year

Wrecking Ball by Billy Vunipola with Gershon Portnoi (Headline)

Autobiography of the Year

Unbroken by Martine Wright with Sue Mott (Simon & Schuster)