An image of a butterfly resting on tennis player Naomi Osaka’s fingertips, by David Gray, has been named overall winner of the World Sports Photography Awards.

The photo was taken at the 2021 Australian Open and shows Ms Osaka, Japan’s four-time Grand Slam winner, give a helping hand to a stray butterfly when it landed on her.

“This is a breathtaking image,” said the competition’s co-founder, Simon Burton.


“Sports Photography captures special moments and tells unique stories, but most of all it draws you in and reveals the unexpected. It forces you to look again and reconsider.”

The competition, now in its third year, received more than 7,000 entries from around the world, with categories including American Football, Basketball, Cycling, Gymnastics and Football.

Here are the rest of the winners across 23 other categories.

Image source, Dustin Satloff

Image caption, Players for the Army Black Knights, representing the United States Military Academy, sit in the locker room before a game against the Navy Midshipmen, of the US Naval Academy, at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Image source, Ian MacNicol

Image caption, Caeleb Dressel wins 100m butterfly gold for the USA in world record time at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.

Image source, Samuel Barnes/Sportsfile

Image caption, Italian Ambra Sabatini celebrates winning gold and breaking the world record in the Women’s Paralympic 100m, alongside compatriots Martina Caironi and Monica Contrafatto, who came second and third, at the Toyko Paralympic Games.

Image caption, Adolis Garcia of the Texas Rangers takes a home run away from Mitch Haniger of the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, in May 2021.

Image source, Kevin Jairaj

Image caption, Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith grabs the ball over Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Image source, RICHARD PELHAM

Image caption, Ebanie Bridges of Australia sustains a gruesome eye injury during the vacant WBA world bantamweight title fight in London against Great Britain’s Shannon Courtenay. Bridges was defeated by unanimous decision in the April 2021 bout.

Image source, Muhammed Arbaz

Image caption, Pakistan’s left-handed cricketer, Khushdil Shah, plays a shot during a match in the National Stadium in Karachi.

Image source, Ashley & Jered Gruber

Image caption, Spectators in the narrow streets of Siena, Italy, watch the peloton ride through during stage 12 of the 2021 Giro d’Italia.

Image source, Mike Egerton

Image caption, Charles Bishop rides racehorse Goring at Wolverhampton Racecourse in the Betway Handicap.


Image caption, Players from Cruz Azul celebrate winning the Mexican Football League Championship after the club’s 23-year championship drought, by beating Santos Laguna 2-1 on aggregate at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Image caption, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing kicks his tyre after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit.

Image source, Richard Heathcote

Image caption, Bryson DeChambeau, USA, plays a shot at the ninth hole during Saturday Afternoon Fourball Matches at the 43rd Ryder Cup. The United States regained the Ryder Cup with a record 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Image source, Ashley Landis

Image caption, China’s Guan Chenchen, 16, wins the gold medal in the beam final, finishing ahead of her team-mate Tang Xijing and the USA’s Simone Biles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Image source, Bruce Bennett

Image caption, Players from the Pittsburgh Penguins defend against the New Jersey Devils late in the third period of their National Hockey League game at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Penguins defeated the Devils 3-1.

Image caption, Max Holloway (left) hits Calvin Kattar during their UFC Featherweight bout at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Holloway defeated Kattar by unanimous decision.

Image source, Marian Chytka

Image caption, Driver Yasi Seidan manoeuvres during the 2021 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

Image source, Isaac Julián Morillas Sánchez

Image caption, Chinese weightlifter Chen Lijun secures the gold medal in the Mens 67kg Weightlifting category at the Toyko Olympics.

Image source, Donald Miralle

Image caption, Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves during the Womens Doubles Table Tennis match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Image caption, South Africas Franco Mostert wins a lineout against the British and Irish Lions in their Rugby Union match at the Cape Town Stadium. South Africa earned a 19-16 victory to win the third and deciding Test of the series.

Image source, Morgan Treacy

Image caption, Catalin Preda of Romania dives from the 27 metre-platform at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Downpatrick Head, Ireland, in September 2021.

Image source, Mark Edward Harris

Image caption, Fireworks rise above the Olympic Stadium in Japan during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Image source, Morgan Treacy

Image caption, Czech Republic’s Lukas Rohan in action during the Mens C-1 Slalom at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. The canoeist won the Olympic silver medal for the event.

Image source, Joel Marklund

Image caption, Linn Persson of Sweden competes at the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on 13 February 2021.

All photos courtesy of World Sports Photography Awards