The shortlist for BBC African Sports Personality of the Year 2021 award has been announced.
The six contenders for the accolade were chosen by a panel of journalists from Africa and the United Kingdom.
The panel selected a shortlist based on the best African sporting achievements on the international stage in 2021 (between January and September).
The impact of the person’s achievement beyond their particular sport was also taken into account.
The nominees are:
- Eliud Kipchoge (athletics)
- Faith Kipyegon (athletics)
- Ntando Mahlangu (para-athletics)
- Christine Mboma (athletics)
- Edouard Mendy (football)
- Tatjana Schoenmaker (swimming)
There is more information on the nominees below, where you can also vote for the winner.
Voting closes at 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 19 December and the winner of the award will be announced on Friday, 7 January 2022 on Focus On Africa television and radio and on the BBC Sport website.
Here’s more on the six contenders vying for the honour:
Country: Kenya Age: 37 Discipline: Marathon runner
Arguably the best marathon runner of all time and this year, Eliud Kipchoge cemented his status over 26.2 miles after winning his second successive Olympic gold in the event.
Just the third person to successfully defend an Olympic marathon title, the Kenyan was later named the International Olympic Committee’s best male athlete of the Games.
Triumph in Tokyo means he has won 13 of the 15 major marathons he has run since stepping up to the distance in 2013, with Kipchoge adding to a resume which includes the official world record of 2:01:39 he set in Berlin in 2018.
At 36, he was the oldest man to win the Olympic marathon since Portugal’s Carlos Lopes (then 37) in 1984 and recorded the greatest winning margin since 1972.
Country: Kenya Age: 27 Discipline: Middle-distance runner
Faith Kipyegon set an Olympic record in Tokyo as she defended the 1500m title she first won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The Kenyan dedicated the win to her three-year-old daughter, whom she credits with giving her extra motivation after taking a 21-month break from the sport.
The dedication was all the more significant since Kipyegon is only the third athlete to retain an Olympic title after giving birth between Games (along with Australia’s Shirley Strickland, in 1956, and Cameroon’s Francoise Mbango, in 2008).
Prior to her stellar display in Japan, she had set a world-leading time of 3:51.07 – the fourth fastest time in history – in Monaco in July at the Diamond League, an event in which she was crowned the year’s champion in September.
After her Olympic record, she is now targeting the world record.
Country: South Africa Age: 19 Discipline: Long jumper and 200m runner
Ntando Mahlangu won his first Paralympic medal aged just 14, when he won silver in the T42 200m at the Rio Games in 2016 – just two years after taking the sport.
This year, he added to his collection when taking gold in both the men’s 200 metres (T61) and long jump (T63) in Tokyo. The jump that secured gold set a new world record of 7.17m – even though he only started training for the event six weeks before the Games.
With a bright future on the track, the youngster – whose legs were amputated, owing to under-developed limbs, aged 10 – combines his athletic exploits with his academic work. In April, he set a world record of 22.94s in the men’s 200 metres.
Country: Namibia Age: 18 Discipline: Sprinter
“The best race of my life” – that’s how Christine Mboma described her performance at Tokyo 2020 as she became the first Namibian woman to ever stand on an Olympic podium.
Winning her country’s first medal in 25 years, the teen took silver in the 200m, finishing behind Jamaica’s five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. Mboma’s time of 21.81 seconds was the then fastest time ever run by a woman under the age of 20.
She went on to become the 200m Diamond League champion in September in Zurich, where her time of 21.78 set both another under-20 world record and a new African record.
The 18-year-old only began focussing on the 200m earlier this year, after being barred from the 400m by global governing body World Athletics because of her naturally high testosterone levels.
Country: Senegal Age: 29 Discipline: Football goalkeeper
Edouard Mendy has impressed at Stamford Bridge since signing for Chelsea from French side Rennes in September 2020 and was instrumental in the west London club’s Champions League success in May.
He kept a record-equalling nine clean sheets en route to lifting the trophy in his debut season in the competition. Mendy also made history by becoming the first African goalkeeper to play in a Champions League final and the first in Europe’s showpiece event since Zimbabwe’s Bruce Grobbelaar appeared in the 1985 final of the European Cup, the tournament’s predecessor, for Liverpool.
Mendy’s 19 clean sheets last season across both the Champions League and Premier League saw him pick up the Uefa Goalkeeper of 2020-21 award.
The Uefa Super Cup winner has also been nominated for Fifa’s best goalkeeper of 2021, but the man who collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in May recently missed out on winning France Football magazine’s Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper in Europe.
Country: South Africa Age: 24 Discipline:Breaststroke
Tatjana Schoenmaker made waves in Tokyo where she not only took home a gold and a silver for South Africa, but set new world and Olympic records in the 200m and 100m breaststroke respectively in the process.
In doing so, she won South Africa’s first Olympic medal in women’s swimming since 2000 and ended her country’s 25-year wait for a female Games gold in the pool as she finished first in the 200m final.
Schoenmaker almost quit the sport in 2016 after missing out on qualification for the Rio Games by one-hundredth of a second. But she stuck with the sport and has since amassed multiple national and continental records, two Commonwealth Games golds and a world silver medal.
“The next challenge is, how can I improve on myself? I’m excited to see where my swimming is going to go,” she said.