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Sarjo Baldeh: Capturing dreams through the lens of sports photography

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Sarjo Baldeh

Reaching the top remains the priority for many young people across the world and everyone has their own story. A series of events made of highs and lows that eventually lead to a particular destination.

For Gambia photographer Sarjo Baldeh, reaching the top is the goal, yet a lot can happen between an attempt to discover and achieve a particular purpose.

Sarjo Baldeh was born in Lamine, a village in the Gambia, and was raised by her parents with firm Islamic beliefs to shape her towards becoming her best self.

Connecting and creating memories became a passion at a young age, and fortunately for her, a summer school program by Starfish International in Gambia turned everything around and inspired what would become a truly remarkable journey.

Her interest in photography shot up after the summer program where she fortunately found herself in a media class, and it looked as though the fates had already planned her destiny. Nonetheless, every great journey has obstacles, and Sarjo’s story is no different.

Her biggest hurdle would be earning the equipment needed to begin her journey in photography to fruition, yet without attaining it, she still remained hopeful.

She received her first camera at age 20, a T6 Canon that set the ball rolling for what would be an unfolding of memories across the world, and then made progress through learning and hard work.

Also, she would be the photographer at wedding ceremonies and other events in the Gambia, yet never did she really think her projection would be in the sports fraternity.

Her actual turning point was when she decided to be in inventory. Create memories not just to be later uploaded across platforms, but to rather project these photos and share them instantaneously on social media.

Sarjo gained prominence when she began shooting Gambia’s senior men’s national team in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, and the team’s qualification to Ivory Coast meant a new chapter and challenge for her.

Sarjo Baldeh during AFCON 2023 in Ivory Coast

She continued her work on the team but also focused on other countries participating in the tournament. Capturing the tournament’s biggest names like Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen and Ivory Coast’s Seko Fofana. Her pictures began circulating all over social media as her confidence continued to grow.

Some international News outlets around the world then began to keep close tabs on her, with the Guardian crafting the infamous article on her journey, while Sky News also touched on her exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The African Games was another avenue for her to show her photography skills and she went on to tell the stories in the events one photo after the other across the digital space.

Sarjo is looking forward to a lot more in the ultra-fast-paced world of sports and hopes she experiences not just her second AFCON in Morocco 2025, but the biggest of them all, the FIFA World Cup in 2026.

“I am excited but whoosh, what a thought and I’m hoping it becomes a reality. The AFCON is great and I want to be in Morocco, but the World Cup will be even bigger and I’m just eagerly waiting and I hope it makes it there as well to that great tournament,” she told 3Sports.

For now, she is taking it one day at a time. Pursuing more and inspiring many young women unaware that involvement in sports can come in many forms beyond actively playing.

By Prosper Kuzo | 3Sports | Ghana

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