John Batanudde (Bata), one of Uganda’s undisputed Sports photographers, has emerged winner of the inaugural Rugby Africa Media and Photography Awards.
Batanudde who won the phography category, and Dave Mwaura (writers) of Kenya – were Wednesday announced in an online awards ceremony where they both walked away with US$1,500 in prize money.
The soft spoken lenseman was declared victorious courtesy of his picture entitled: ‘Heathens’ loose forward Scott Oluoch launches an attack against Warriors players during a Uganda Cup match taken at Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala, Uganda.
He beat stiff competition from Antony Munge(Kenya) and Nantenaina Rakotondranivo (Madagascar) with whom he had been listed after being chosen from a multitude of entries.
Juror and Chairman of Standard Bank Group, Thulani Gcabashe was left elated by the work of art displayed by the winning image.
“The image captured was certainly action-packed! The runner with the ball has determination all over his face. He is much bigger and stronger-looking than those tackling him, and the mud makes catching him almost impossible – a metaphor for the struggles one has to go through to win.”
After learning about his victory, the Ugandan told Rugby Africa,
“I am wowed by the response and acknowledgement of the Rugby Africa Media and Photography Awards. When I captured this battle on field, it was filled with grit and determination which is what I wanted to portray. I am honoured to have my work praised and take first place.”
According to the organisers, the awards honoured the glorious game in Africa captured through the creative eyes and words of those that promote rugby in every corner of the continent.
The jury that is chaired by World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont features current and past male and female rugby players including three of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winners of 2019 with the likes of Springbok legend Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, as well as high-ranking senior executives of companies active in Africa from Google to Uber, Jaguar Land Rover to Visa and Pfizer to Harley Davidson, and male and female rugby referees.