African Sport Titans

If anything, sport has upheld the good image of Africa for centuries. One of the pioneers extraordinary achievement and contemporarily successful sport men and women in the African sport arena.

 

Reginald Walker
Nationality: South African
Life Span: March 16, 1889- November 5, 1951
Major Achievements: The first African to win a gold medal in the modern Olympic games at the London 1908 Olympics. He was only 18 years old when he won the 100 meter sprint and held the record of the youngest medallist in that race until 2012.

Esther Brand
Nationality: South African
Date of Birth: September 29, 1922
Major Achievements: She is the first African women to win a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland. She was competing in the high jump category.

Abebe Bikila
Nationality: Ethiopian
Life Span: August 7, 1932-October 25, 1973
Major Achievements: Abebe Bikila is Africa’s first world record breaking athlete/ marathoner, first Ethiopian and first sub-Saharan African Olympic gold medallist. He would also become Africa’s first Olympic double-gold medallist and double world- record breaking athlete. No one else in the world has won two Olympic gold medals in the marathon, while simultaneously breaking the world record!

Yidnekachew Tessema
Nationality: Ethiopian
Life Span: September 11, 1921- August 19, 1987
Major Achievements: He was and legendary footballer and pioneer of modern sports organizations in Ethiopia and Africa. He was the leader of the struggle that expelled apartheid South Africa from African Football in 1960, from the Olympics in 1971 and from FIFA in 1976. He was the President of the Confederation of African Football, President of the Union of African Sports Confederations, Honorary President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and in March 1988, he was made Posthumous Honorary President of the African Football Confederation

Nawal El Moutawakel
Nationality: Moroccan
Date of Birth: April 15, 1962
Major Achievements: She was a hurdler, who won the inaugural women’s 400m hurdle event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, thereby becoming the first female Muslim African to become an Olympic champion. She has also won several hurdle races and has been an inspiration for women across the Arab world. In 2007, El Moutawakel was named the Minister of Sports in her country.

Derartu Tulu
Nationality: Ethiopian
Date of Birth: March 21, 1972
Major Achievements: Derartu is the first black African woman to win a gold medal which she won in the 10,000m event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games; she won it again 8 years later at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 setting a new Olympic record. She has also mesmerized the world winning the London, Tokyo and New York marathons.

Kip Keino
Nationality: Kenyan
Date of Birth: January 17, 1940
Major Achievements: he won the Gold Medal in the 1500 meters race and silver in 5000 m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Four years later, he won a gold medal in the 3000 meters steeple chase and silver in the 1500 meters at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He won two gold medals (1500 & 5000 meters) at the inaugural All-Africa Games in 1965 and other three gold medals in the common wealth competitions. He is a known humanitarian and later president of Kenya’s Olympic Committee.

Name: Roger Milla
Nationality: Cameroonian
Date of Birth: May, 20, 1952
Major Achievements: He was one of the first African players to be a major star on the international stage. He played in three World Cups for the Cameroon national team. He helped the Cameroonian team to be the first African team to reach the quarter-finals in the history of the World Cup competition, at the 1990 Italy World Cup. Milla returned to the 1994 FIFA World Cup at the age of 42, being the oldest player ever to appear in a World Cup

Said Aouita
Date of Birth: November 2,1959
Nationality: Moroccan
Major Achievement: He won the 5000 meters at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1987 World Championships in Athletics, as well as the 3000 meters at the 1989 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He was also a world record holder in middle distance races. Aouita was one of the first globally known Arab sportspeople. He was awarded best Arab Athlete of the Century by Al Jazeera TV in 2000; a high speed train in Morocco and a subway in the London Marathon are named after him.

Haile Gebrselassie
Nationality: Ethiopian
Date of Birth: April 18, 1973
Major Achievements: He won two Olympic gold medals at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympics in the 10,000 meters. He has also won four World Championship titles. He broke 61 Ethiopian National Records ranging from 800 meters to the marathon, set 27 world records, and is widely considered as one of the greatest distance runners of all times.

Abidi Pele
Nationality: Ghanaian
Date of Birth: November 5, 1964
Major Achievements: Having been given the nickname “Pelé” in recognition of his superior ability that evoked comparisons to Brazilian footballer Pelé, he found fame in France’s Ligue 1 with Lille OSC and Olympique De Marseille winning the UEFA Champions league in 1993. He played in five African cup of Nations winning one and named player of the Tournament. He was African Footballer of the Year three times and has received the Order of Volta (civil division), highest Ghanaian National Award.

Hicham El Guerrouj
Nationality: Moroccan
Date of Birth: September 14, 1974
Major Achievements: He is the current holder of the 1500 meters, 1 mile and outdoor 2000 meters world records. He is a double Olympic gold medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic games in 1500 and 5,000 metres. From 1995 until his retirement from serious competition following the 2004 Olympics, he was the dominant middle distance runner.

Maria Mutola
Nationality: Mozambique
Date of Birth: October 27, 1972
Major Achievements: Known with her nickname: “The Maputo Express’’, she is the fourth track & field athlete to compete in six Olympic Games. She is a three-time world champion in the 800 meters competition and a one-time Olympic champion. She has won three gold medals in the world champion and seven times in the world indoor championship and two times in the common wealth.

George Weah
Nationality: Liberian
Date of Birth: October 1, 1966
Major Achievements: In 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year (won the third place the next year), European Footballer of the Year and African Footballer of the Year. He has played in more than 14 years as a professional player in the top leagues of France, Italy and England. His time at AC Milan has been the most extraordinary. He is a famous Activist and politician in his native country and even contested in the presidential election and lost to the first African female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a much contested election.

Kenenisa Bekele
Nationality: Ethiopian
Date of Birth: June 13, 1982
Major Achievements: Kenenisa holds the world record and Olympic record in both the 5000 and 10,000 meters events. He won a double at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in these events; he also won the 2004 Athens Olympic title in 10,000 meters. He is the most accomplished runner in IAAF World Cross Country Championships history with six long (12km) course and five short (4km) course titles. He won the 10,000m title at the World Championships in Athletics four times running from 2003 to 2009 (matching Haile Gebrselassie’s win streak). He was unbeaten in the 10,000m competition since his debut in 2003 until 2011.

Samuael Eto’o
Nationality: Cameroonian
Date of Birth: March 10, 1981
Major Achievements: He plays as a striker for Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala. Eto’o is currently the highest earning footballer in the world, with a salary of £350,000 per week. Eto’o scored over 100 goals in five seasons with Barcelona .He is the most decorated African player of all time having won the African Player of the Year award a record four times. Eto’o was a part of the national team squad that won the 2000 Olympic tournament. He has also participated in three World Cups and six African Nations Cups, (winning twice) and he is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Cup of Nations, with 18 goals.

Didier Drogba
Nationality: Ivorian
Date of Birth: March 11, 1978
Major Achievements: In October 2012, he was voted by Chelsea supporters as the club’s greatest ever player. He scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. Drogba moved to Chelsea for a club record of £24 million fee, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009. Drogba was a part of the Côte d’Ivoire side which reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012.

Oscar Pistorius
Nationality: South African
Date of Birth: November 22, 1986
Major accomplishments: Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 meters and 4 × 400 meters relay races at the 2012 London Olympic games . A year earlier, Pistorius became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal at the 2011 Daegu World Championships in Athletics when he received the silver medal in the men’s 4x400 relay. He has won seven gold as well as a silver and bronze medals in the three Paralympic competitions of 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London Paralympics.

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