Will I ever photograph at a major tournament?

A small disclaimer – I should start off by adding to the question the word AGAIN because I have photographed a major tournament before.

I have been reflecting on this question a lot lately. Just the other day on the Black Women Photographers Slack channel, I shared my desire to be at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand happening later this year, but the way the travel situation is right now, it is making that look like an impossible dream.

Even before Rona, the likelihood of me traveling to New Zealand (as it is one of my bucket list countries to visit) even using sport as an excuse looked very doubtful, but not impossible. The cost for visas, flights, accommodation, local travel, insurance, etc. was just adding up. Now, I have to think about PCR tests and the likes to add to the list of expenses.😩

Self-portrait at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast before the New Zealand v England Final

In 2017, when I traveled to Ireland/Northern Ireland for the last women’s Rugby World Cup, I was literally planning it with days to go before my departure date. This was due to the fact I was waiting for my accreditation to be approved before I could apply for my visa*. Even then when I was submitting my visa application, I needed to have done it like 2 to 3 weeks prior to my travel date, but I was literally submitting my application a week or so and I was a wreck that week with worry because my accreditation was approved late. By the grace of God, my visa was approved the day before I was due to leave. I picked up my passport from the Irish Embassy after being in bed sick with migraine to only pack that very evening and leave the next day. I really enjoyed my time in Ireland/Northern Ireland as the days when there were no matches, I got to see a bit of the country.

*As a Kenyan passport holder, I needed a visa as I was traveling to Dublin, Ireland which is part of the EU. If I was only traveling to Northern Ireland, I would not need a visa as it is part of the U.K.

I would consider myself lucky as I was able to secure cheap flights to Northern Ireland and together with a photographer friend of mine, Sarah Muirhead, we traveled to Dublin by car from Belfast. This was also helped by the fact that a flight from England to Northern Ireland is less than 2hrs in comparison to one to New Zealand which will take at least 24hrs from London. Double 😩

Self-portrait on the pitch during the New Zealand v England final in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Last year, I was glued to the telly as I watched the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (another country I would like to visit) and I was reflecting on this question as well as I would really like to be a photographer at an Olympics in my lifetime, even it was just to photograph the general atmosphere surrounding the games. However, with this, unless I am commissioned by the IOC of the country I am representing (in my case Kenya) the likelihood of it happening is close to never. Then again, miracles can and do happen, so you never know. My dream might just come true and find myself in France in 2024. 🤞🏾🙏🏾

Whilst I continue with my reflections, I am slowly trying to get back to photographing more women’s rugby and other sporting events as I had taken a break when I was studying for my MA and then the pandemic happened. You never know, I might just end up photographing a major tournament or find myself heading to New Zealand to watch the final of the women’s Rugby World Cup. 🤷🏾‍♀️


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Drinking loads of tea/coffee make it happen and your support is always welcome.

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