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SPORTS

Namibian Christine Mboma wins BBC African Sports Personality of the Year 2021

ATHLETICS By Mike Kihaki | January 12th 2022 | 2 min read
Namibian Christine Mboma [photo courtesy]

Christine Mboma is the BBC African Sports Personality of the Year for 2021, capping a year of unprecedented sporting success for the Namibian teenage sprinter.

Mboma became the first woman to win the accolade after a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Mboma was a strong favorite for the award from the moment she emerged from qualifying to storm through to the latter stages of the competition.

In September, the 18-year-old broke the record and became the first woman from her country to win an Olympic medal - and only the second athlete after prolific sprinter Frankie Fredericks - when she claimed silver in a stacked women's 200 metres final behind gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.

Her performance was notable as she was forced to transition to the 200m from her preferred 400m after World Athletics ruled her and her compatriot Beatrice Masilingi unable to compete in their preferred discipline due to high natural testosterone levels.

The pair were ruled out at the start of July, less than a month before the Games, with both youngsters notably struggling with block starts.

Mboma broke the world under-20 record in the final in a time of 21.81sec, also setting a new African and national record. 

Masilingi was sixth in that final, with both athletes setting new personal bests in all three of their races.

Christine Mboma says the award was a reward for all hard work and achievements done.  "It is always great to put my country on the top spot, I always make my country proud and it feels great to win the award. My achievement will motivate young athletes from Africa, and here in Namibia, to try to do their best and to work hard for their dreams. I dedicate this BBC award to all Namibians.” Mboma told BBC Sport Africa.

Mboma won the award ahead of Kenyan Olympic champions Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon, South African double Paralympic champion Ntando Mahlangu, Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Olympic swimming champion Tatjana Schoenmaker.

She is also the second Namibian to win the award after Fredericks.

As well as silver at the Games, Mboma became the 200m Diamond League champion and under-20 world gold medallist.

Her coach Henk Botha says: “Awards like these mean a lot to all athletes. It was a very strong field, all the contestants are superstars of African sport, so for me as a coach of the athlete it is a great privilege and honour to be part of any award from the BBC. It is just out of this world for a little place like Namibia and a young girl that not more than three years ago, ran barefoot in the sand. She got such an excellent award so obviously this is unbelievable.”?

 

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