The award was announced last night at the British Press Awards dinner at Lancaster Gate in London.
Ashdown, who has been with The Independent since the newspaper's launch in 1986, has won many national and international photography prizes, including the prestigious International Olympic Committee's worldwide "Best of Sport" award.
Ashdown's winning portfolio in the Canon Sports Photographer of the Year category at last night's awards, which were sponsored by the Post Office, comprised these three photographs:
Christopher Shaw (top) competing in the men's 200m breaststroke at the British Grand Prix in Leeds.
(Photograph taken with a NikonF5 at 500th of a second on a 300mm lens at F2.8 on Kodak multi-speed film)
Chelsea (left) defend a free-kick taken by Middlesbrough's Juninho at the FA Cup final.
(Photograph taken with a NikonF5 at 320th of a second on an 800mm lens at F16 on Kodak multi-speed film)
Ben Tune (above) scores Australia's second try against England at Twickenham.
(Photograph taken with a NikonF5 at 500th of a second with a 300mm lens at F2.8 on Fuji 800 ASA film pushed to 1600 ASA)Reuse content