David B. Ottaway, the Cairo-based Middle East correspondent of The Washington Post, was awarded the Overseas Press Club's award for best daily newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad at the organization's annual dinner in New York last night.

Ottaway was awarded the Hal Boyle award for his eyewitness account of the assassination of Anwar Sadat last October. The assassination and the year's developments in Poland and Central America dominated the 15 award categories.

Ottaway came to The Post in 1971. Before becoming Cairo bureau chief in 1981, he had been an assistant foreign editor and East Africa correspondent in Kenya, Ethiopia and Zambia.

Ottaway is coauthor with his wife, Marina Ottaway, of three books: "Algeria: The Politics of Socialist Revolution," "Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution" and "Afrocommunism."

Coverage of the Sadat assassination also earned an ABC News camera and sound team the prize for best television spot reporting, and Egyptian photographer Nakram Gadel Karim won the Olivier Rebbot Award for photgraphic reporting in books and magazines. ABC News also won the Lowell Thomas Award for radio interpretation for its program "Perspective: Sadat, the Aftermath."

Photographer Kent Kobersteen of the Minneapolis Tribune won two awards. His pictures on the plight of the world's poor took the prize for photographic reporting for newspapers or wire services, and he shared the Madeline Dane Ross Award with Alan McConagha for reporting in any medium demonstrating a concern for humanity.

Rudi Frey of Time magazine won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographic reporting or interpretation requiring exceptional courage and enterprise, and Reuter correspondent Brian Mooney won a Hal Boyle citation of excellence, both for their work in Poland.

The Bob Considine Award for the best newspaper or wire service interpretation of foreign affairs went to David K. Willis of the Christian Science Monitor for two series--"Soviet Memorandum" and "On The Trail of the A-Bomb Makers."

The Overseas Press Club has given prizes for outstanding journalism from abroad since 1940.