Mansoor Ahmed is living the dream after scooping ‘gold’ at the Olympics.
He may only be watching from the sidelines but the 39-year-old sports journalism graduate from Deepdale is an official photographer at the Games and is covering men and women’s basketball with unparalleled access to the Great Britain teams.
On top of that, he’s bumped into the likes of Michelle Obama, rapper Ludacris, boxer Evander Holyfield, and “a ton of retired basketball players.”
Like many of the sports stars he is photographing, Mansoor has spent more than a decade trying to get to the prestigious Games.
A former pupil at Moor Park High School and Preston College student, the basketball fan works as a technician at the University of Central Lancashire, where he did his degree.
In his spare time though he has been doing basketball photography for nearly 24 years, and has covered all the major world events connected with the sport apart from the Olympics.
Mansoor said: “I have applied to work at the Olympics for the last 12 years and it’s almost as difficult to get into the Olympics as a photographer as it is for an athlete.
“I have always missed out as I am a freelance even if I have commissioned work or working for the GB Federation. I have been the official GB photographer for a long time, and although I thought this would be enough to get me in, it wasnt.”
After jumping through numerous hurdles he eventually got his accreditation and added: “I have been following the fortunes of both the men and women GB team’s, documenting their first appearance at these games. It’s been tough as there has been a game every day for the first 10 days, and then straight onto the knock outs.”
He added: “Its been a great experience. Just like the athletes are competing with one another for the gold, so are we. I am sat next to photographers that I have grown up idolising, and so to be sharing the same photographers row with them is awe-inspiring.”
He has worked as the official photographer for the British Basketball League, England Basketball and NBA games in the UK and has been an IT technician at UCLan, for the last 11 years, working with both staff and students.
In his spare time he volunteers as press officer for local team, Preston Pride, and also does a lot of basketball refereeing.