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Mainichi reporter wins award for Olympic photo of Bolt, Cambridge

Naotsune Umemura's award-winning photo of Usain Bolt, right, and Aska Cambridge during the 100-meter relay race at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Mainichi)

Mainichi Shimbun reporter Naotsune Umemura has won a 2017 Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association Award for his impressive action shot of sprinters Usain Bolt and Japan's Aska Cambridge at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

    Umemura, 40, now working in the Mainichi Shimbun's Hokkaido News Department Photo Group, was in Rio covering the Olympics as a photographer from the newspaper's Tokyo Head Office. He received the award in the editorial category, marking the first time for a sports photo to win such an award.

    It is also the second year in a row for the Mainichi Shimbun to win in the editorial category, bringing the company's total number of awards to date to a record 29.

    Titled "Bolt's surprise, Japan's first ever relay silver," the photo captures Japanese sprinter Cambridge and Jamaican sprinter Bolt as they compete against each other during the last leg of the 4x100-meter relay final at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bolt eventually beat Cambridge in the race, but Japan shocked the world with its unexpected superb performance in the event.

    Specifically, Umemura managed to capture the surprise on Bolt's face as he glances over and sees Cambridge running next to him in the final straight.

    "The technique and judgment behind this well-positioned and well-timed photo, as the two runners head for the finish line is remarkable. This is a brilliant case of photojournalism that will go down in history," the association said in praising Umemura's work. The announcement was made by the association on Sept. 6. Three other news organizations were also awarded the prize in the editorial category.

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