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AFP Photographer Raul Arboleda wins AIPS Sport Media Award

Raul Arboleda, an AFP photographer from Colombia, wins the renowned AIPS Sports Media Award, which each year recognizes the very best sports storytellers and journalists from around the world.


Our photographer was awarded for ‘You Set the Limits’,  an exceptional series of photographs that covers Alfonso Mendoza, a 25-year-old Venezuelan rapper, skateboarder and surfer who was born without legs. In September 2018, Raul Arboleda photographed the extreme sports enthusiast performing skate tricks and delivering a conference in Barranquilla, as well as riding the waves in Puerta Colombia.


Mendoza, who is passionate about inspiring young people in vulnerable situations through his speeches, had arrived in Colombia nine months prior due to the crisis in his country. He came with nothing but his skateboard, rapping on buses to get money for food and the rent of his humble room.


According to the photographer, Mendoza made him realize that every moment is an opportunity to learn that “limits are in our minds”. Through the series of photographs he aims to show the world that there are people who struggle everyday in unthinkable conditions, but still teach us great lessons in life.


Raul Arboleda started his career at the Colombian News Agency Colprensa, after completing a photography course at the Alliance Française de Bogota at 20 years old. In 2006, he began working for AFP in Medellin, the country's second city, and then in Bogota, his hometown, 2017 onwards. Now 42 years old, the photographer has covered several significant episodes of the armed conflict and violence amongst drug traffickers in Colombia. His work has already earned him some accolades, in particular the 2nd prize in the Feature Picture Story / Essay category of the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar in 2018, also for his report on Alca.


Launched in 2018, the AIPS Sport Media Awards are the highest international accolade in the sport media industry. The Awards offer recognition to the very best sport storytellers across all media platforms, from photography to video, from print to digital, from podcasts to sports blogs. Established in Paris in July 1924, The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) is the peak professional body representing the international sports media, with more than 9,500 members worldwide.