The beautiful continent of Africa has produced quite a number of athletes who have made their marks not only on motherland, but have gone on to stun the world with their outstanding achievements. From Cameroon legend Roger Milla’s astounding displays at the World Cup in Italy in 1990; Nigerian international Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha’s mesmerizing displays over the years; Haile Gabrsellassie’s almost total domination of long distance races…the list is just endless. However, this post aims to take a look at ten of Africa’s best athletes in the last few years. Not necessarily in terms of their net worth – Ghanaian football star Asamoah Gyan would definitely feature in this list having being one of the highest paid African footballers last season – but looking at their performances and achievements and how well it they have affected the continent in a positive way. So, here’s my pick on Africa’s top ten athletes in no respective order:
If there ever was a case study for the statement, “if at the first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again,’ then Botswana sprinter Montsho is one of the best you can get. Born some 29 years ago, the present 400 metres World Champion didn’t always have a smooth ride in her career. She admits she’s a slow starter and that is quite obvious judging from some of her early races. Despite representing her country in the last 2 Olympics in 2004 and 2008, Montsho had a miserable showing at the 1AAF World Athletics meet in 2009 finishing in fifth place. Just before that, she didn’t even make the cut for the 2005 and 2007 editions. But, the Botswana sprinter kept her head up and with determination, finally achieved a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games~~ the first person from her country to do so. A year later, she went a step further by winning the 400 metres at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea.In this age when many African athletes nationalise for other western nations, Monthsho’s love for her country is a joy to behold. She trains in Senegal but said recently: “I think I would run better if I ate food from Botswana.” Really patriotic, don’t you think?