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Canadian photojournalist snaps up national award

Last Updated May 9, 2021 at 11:16 am PDT

Leah Hennel Globe and Mail

Calgary photojournalist, Leah Hennel wins sports photo of the year

The award-winning shot is of Team Canada's Olympic Water Polo player, Kyra Christmas

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A Calgary photojournalist says she got lucky with the weather and the right angle after her photo won sports photo of the year at the National Newspaper Awards.

Leah Hennel has been behind the lens for more than 20 years, and although this isn’t her first accolade, she says photojournalism is important now more than ever.

“Documenting — especially during a pandemic — and just getting truthful storytelling images out there and showing what people are going through (…) It’s hugely important,” Hennel said. “I mean, a photo says a lot and can sometimes, maybe change the way people are thinking, or show them what it has been like.”

Her award-winning shot is of Team Canada’s Olympic Water Polo player, Kyra Christmas who originally posted an Instagram video of her practising in a makeshift pool — something Hennel knew she had to get a picture of.

“It just goes to show the ingenuity of all these Olympic athletes, and what they’ve had to go through in the pandemic in order to keep training,” she said.

“All the pools were shut down due to the pandemic, and Kyra couldn’t be with the rest of her Water Polo team, because travel was also shut down. So along with her parents, they decided to make a hay bale pool, lined with tarps.”

After a few different angles, Hennel says she got lucky with the light in her award-winning shot that was published last May in the Globe and Mail.