Kenyan-born British Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike has added another feather to her cap after being named one of the six black athletes and changemakers in the United Kingdom, in a list that includes Formula One icon, Lewis Hamilton.
The list has been compiled by the Switzerland- based Sport and Development and is in celebration of the Black History month in the UK.
In the citation, the organisation says, “Anne Wafula-Strike is a former wheelchair racer and a disability and social justice activist. She grew up in rural Kenya and became disabled due to polio.
She moved to the UK in the early 2000s and soon rose to prominence in the world of athletics.
Wafula-Strike debuted on the international racing scene at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, and by 2008, she had won medals in 19 international and national competitions.
In 2013, she became the first Paralympian in Europe to finish the “Tough Mudder Challenge”, an endurance event series in which participants attempt a 16-19 km obstacle course.”
This is yet another feather to Wafula’s cap. She was recently named one of the top 12 influential women of colour in the UK and received a Black Entertainment, Film, and Fashion Award (BEFFTA) for being the most inspirational figure.
She won the UK-Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year award in 2004 and she has also won the Women for Africa Recognition Award.
Since quitting full-time sports, Strike has devoted her time to advocating for disabled and socially disadvantaged people all across the world.
She established the Olympic-Wafula Foundation to promote healthy-living solutions among disabled and disadvantaged individuals.
Speaking to Nation Sport on this recognition, Wafula said she is dedicating this to her father. “I am dedicating this recognition to my father, without whom I would have had a much narrower path in life to travel. He is my hero. Against the existing traditions of the time which discriminated against children with polio, my father loved me and made sure I got the best education I could ever wanted.”
Hamilton is feted as the first black Formula 1 driver and is among the best F1 race-car drivers in the world. “He began his racing career at the age of eight with carting.
His father was supportive of his passion and worked multiple jobs to fund it. He won the British Kart Championship when he was 10 and three years later, he was signed onto the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programme.
He won European and international karting titles from 1998 to 2000, and at the age of 15, he became the sport’s youngest ever number one driver.
Upon winning his seventh Formula One title last year, Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s record for winning the most championships in history, while also breaking Schumacher’s record for lifetime F1 race victories (91) in the process.
Aware of the lack of diversity in the motorsport industry and to bring about change in the industry, he set up the Hamilton Commission in 2019, aimed at researching and implementing ways to increase diversity in motorsports.”
Also being feted is Nicola Adams who is described as ” an inspiring boxing champion, whose story of breaking new ground in the boxing ring is an inspiration to all boxing enthusiasts.
Nicola made history by becoming the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to win an Olympic boxing medal when she won gold in the flyweight category at the 2012 London Olympics. Nicola has a tremendous professional record of five wins, one draw and no defeats”
Theresa Ione “Tessa” Sanderson who is a former British heptathlete and javelin thrower also makes the list.
A six-time Olympian in the javelin from 1976 to 1996, she won the gold medal for Great Britain in 1984, becoming the first black woman from the UK to win a Olympic gold and the second track and field athlete to compete in six Olympics, following discus thrower Lia Manoliu.
Others are Joshua Buatsi a Ghanian-born British professional boxer.
As an amateur boxer, he won a bronze medal in the light-heavyweight division at the 2016 Rio Olympics; Clive Sullivan who was a Welsh rugby league player who played for Hull City and Hull Kingston Rovers, as well as Oldham Athletic and Doncaster Rovers.
He became the first Black person to captain Great Britain in any sport, when he captained the team in 1972. Under his captaincy, Great Britain won the 1972 Rugby World Cup.