BBC’s shortlist of Africa’s sports personalities of the year is an excellent way to celebrate the amazing achievements of talented sportsmen and women across the continent. To create the list, a panel of experts like journalists, administrators, and coaches comes together to choose the six contenders to compete for the public’s vote.
The shortlisted candidates who have enjoyed a successful year with exceptional achievements in 2021 include:
Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics (Kenya)
Eliud Kipchoge is famous as the world’s best marathon runner who has achieved incredible feats while racing. In 2021, Kipchoge cemented his status in the world after winning his second consecutive Olympic gold medal. The 36-year-old became the oldest athlete to run the Olympic marathon since 1984, recording the biggest winning margin since 1972.
Faith Kipyegon – Athletics (Kenya)
Faith Kipyegon set a new record in the Tokyo Olympics this year, winning gold medals back-to-back in the 1500m races. By doing so, Faith became the third female athlete to retain an Olympic title after taking maternity leave in between games.
Before Kipyegon’s feat in Tokyo, she registered a world-record time of 3:51.07 in the Diamond League Monaco, which was the fourth fastest. Kipyegon set this record in July but was crowned as the champion in December.
Edouard Mendy – Football (Senegal)
Football is among the most popular sports for punters in Betway South Africa and for good reasons. The continent is packed with football talent like Senegal’s Edouard Mendy, who was signed by Chelsea in September 2020. Edouard Mendy had an impressive start at Stamford Bridge, being instrumental in the club’s success in the Champions League – which is available for betting with the Betway app.
Mendy managed to keep a joint record of nine clean sheets during his debut season in the Champions League, which was quite elemental for Chelsea. He also made champions league history by becoming the first African footballer to score a goal in the final match.
Ntando Mahlangu – Para-athletics
South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu won the first Paralympic medals when he was 14, where he took silver in the 200m Rio Games. In 2021, Ntando added another medal to his collection after taking gold in the men’s 200M (T61) and long jump (T63) during the Tokyo Olympics. The jump that gave Ntando the gold medal was a world record of 7.17m, adding to hit 200m world record set in April.
Tatjana Schoenmaker – Swimming
Another South African athlete, Tatjana made headlines in the Tokyo Olympics after taking home gold and silver, while setting new Olympic and world records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke swimming. By doing so, Tatjana gave South Africa its first Olympic gold medal in Olympic swimming in over two decades.
Christine Mboma – Athletics (Namibia)
At only 18 years, Christine Mboma managed to become the first Namibian female athlete to win an Olympic medal, after taking home silver from the 200m in the Tokyo Olympics this year. Mboma finished behind Jamaica’s Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, recording a time of 21.81 seconds. In September, the Namibian athlete became a Diamond League Champion in the 200m, setting a time of 21.78. That was the fastest time to be recorded by an under-20 athlete in the world.