By Lamin Fadera
Twenty-three years ago, Gambian-born Dawda Badjie entered bodybuilding after quitting football. He has won nine (9) gold medals, (3) silver and three (3) bronze medals in Fourteen (14) years as a professional bodybuilder.
On the 10th of September, 2023, Dawda was elected as the champion of Finland bodybuilding in a competition organized by the Finish Bodybuilding Association.
He expressed his gratitude to people who contributed to his success in becoming a bodybuilding champion.
“I am proud to become a Finnish national champion. It was never easy, but with the help and coaching of my best friend and brother plus family bull mental makes me believe everything is possible to achieve in life if you put an effort into it,” Badjie said.
Journey to Bodybuilding
Dawda King Badjie was born and raised in the Gambia. Before traveling to Europe, he once played for the Gambia Ports Authority and other clubs in the Gambia.
Badjie developed the passion to become a professional bodybuilder after he met an American friend, Mike, who saw him training at the beachside in the Gambia.
Upon meeting Dawda, he encourages him to quit football and become a bodybuilder because of the muscles he possesses at the time.
“Well, I played football before the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) level, but then I went to the gym training with friends.
One day, I met a man called Mike. He was an American who came to visit the Gambia, and he saw me training at the beachside and came to talk to me about bodybuilding because, in his eyes, I had an excellent physique to become a bodybuilder and a champion. He showed me some bodybuilder’s magazine books and explained much about them. I saw in the magazine numerous bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, and many others. But Ronnie Coleman inspired me with his fantastic body and physique, and I want to be like him, Badjie told The Alkamba Tims Sports.
Dark in complexion with a thick beard and massive arms cuts an imposing figure; the magazine from Mike at the beachside has been the turning point in his life in what became a profession for him.
Discipline key to Dawda’s success
It was not all rosy for Dawda when he decided to become a bodybuilder; training consistently with hard work and a healthy lifestyle was essential for Dawda to maintain his shape.
“Maintaining a consistent and steady mindset is significant if you have a goal to achieve. You must first challenge yourself to be disciplined, dedicated, and determined, then motivate yourself however you can to push yourself to the next level.”
Dawda said he also faced many challenges to acquire sponsorship before becoming a champion. He asked for help from different people and companies before becoming a champion.
He said the last competition he won in Finland was his best championship after struggling. Dawda said that he wanted to quit at some point, but thanks to his wife, he stayed and chased his dream.
Dawda advises young people who want to become bodybuilders to expect many challenges, but they should follow their dreams with determination and discipline.
He will compete in the next bodybuilding championship in Finland on the 26th of November, 2023; he urges Gambians to put the country first and support people doing well at home and abroad.