Namibian Christine Mboma became the first female to claim the coveted BBC African Sports Personality of the Year award 2021. Previously, the award, formerly known as the BBC African Footballer of the Year, reverted to their initial name BBC African Sports Personality of the Year.
The sole purpose of the change in the name was to reflect the diversity of African sports and recognize excellence in different sports categories. The current BBC awards consider gender, disability, and variety of sports on offer, justifying the name change from the limiting BBC African Footballer of the Year.
Christine Mboma won the award ahead of Kenyan Olympic champion and decorated athletes; Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon. Other athletes competing for the prize were; Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and South African paralympic champion Ntando Mahlangu.
So who is Christine Mboma, despite being a teenager, she has already taken the world by storm. Let’s dive in to fully understand her rise and potential in the sport.
Christine Mbona’s Profile
Christine Mbona is a Namibian teenager born in May 2003. At 18 years, she won the silver medal during the Tokyo Olympics in 200M finals. The win made Christine the first Namibian to ever claim an Olympic medal and subsequently shattered the world under-20 and African senior record and set a new form of 48.54 seconds for 400M.
Consequently, the record set during the 400M run led her and Beatrice Masilingi to be exempted from the Tokyo Olympics 400M competition by the world Athletics board. The decision was inspired by the high natural testosterone levels exhibited by the two athletes. However, they were both cleared to compete on 200M.
The setback of not competing in 400M did not deter her from showing her prowess and potential during the 200m finals during the Tokyo Olympics. Christine won a silver medal behind the gold medallist Elaine Thompson of Jamaica.
Christine’s win makes it a double for Namibia after Frankie Fredericks became the first Namibia athlete to win the BBC sports personality of the Year. However, Christine is the first female ever to win the award.
Meaning of Christine’s Win
Namibian girls and aspiring female athletes worldwide have a lot to draw from Christine’s win. Despite all the odds, training barefooted in the past, she remained focussed on her goal and vision of conquering, and she did at a young age. This win is just an epitome of a great career ahead.
Talking to BBC during the award ceremony, Christine affirmed, “I feel great and proud to be a Namibian; I dedicate this BBC award to all Namibians. This is [a reward] for all the hard work I have done.”
Christine’s hard work, discipline, and work ethic are likely to elevate her to higher career levels. We are yet to witness what she is capable of, and she is indeed a force to reckon with and the athlete to keep an eye on.
There is a lot of diversity in sports from gender, disabilities, and even sports categories. BBC Sports Personality of the Year provides a broad umbrella befitting all sportsmen and women, regardless of their gender, disability status, or even sports they play.
From the AGM family, we congratulate Christine Mboma for being the first female to win BBC sports personality of the Year at 18 years of age. As she grows into senior competitions, we are excited to see what the future holds for her as an athlete.