Somalia is a country situated in the Horn of Africa that has both the Red Sea coastline and the Indian Ocean coastline. Somali sports giants have graced various international athletics competitions over time. We have provided for you a list of the top 10 sports athletes from this beautiful country as a stepping-stone for you to explore more.
10. Mohamed Jama
Mohamed Jama is a kickboxer in the middleweight category. He is based in Netherlands and practices at Tooy Gym. He has held a record of 27 fights comprising of both European and World titles. He has been playing kickboxing since the early days of the turn of this millennium.
9. Mohamed Deq Abdulle
Mohammed Abdulle is a professional Taekwondo player who often trained together with his Somali compatriot, Faisal Aweys. They both competed at the Taekwondo African Championships in 2013, held in Tunisia where Abdulle emerged fourth while Aweys grabbed a bronze.
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8. Faisal Jeylani Aweys
Born in Somalia in 1987, Aweys relocated to Switzerland in 2000 at age 13. He trained in Switzerland under Coach Elton De Souza. In 2010, Aweys won his first national title at the Switzerland Championships after forming his own Taekwondo club together with his friend, Anthony Wood.
In 2013, Aweys won a silver medal at the Open World Taekwondo Challenge Championship held in Tongeren.
Aweys reached semi-finals of the Taekwondo African Championships in 2013, held in Tunisia. He won a bronze medal at the end of the championships after fiercely beating competitors from Gabon and Mozambique and losing to Egyptian. This improved his global ranking to 56th position.
7. Zahra Bani
Zahra Bani is a javelin thrower who was born 1979 in Mogadishu, Somalia. She is borne of an Italian father and Somali mother. She threw to her personal best of 62.75 meters during the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. She is considered Italy’s second-best Javelin thrower of all time.
Zahra has been out of active athletics for a while due to health challenges.
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6. Mustafa Mohammed
Mohammed relocated from Mogadishu to Sweden at age 11. He was born in Mogadishu in 1979. He is a steeplechase runner. In 1998 at the World Junior Championships, he finished eighth overall. In 2003, he broke his personal record of 8:32 by almost 10 seconds to reach a new personal best of 8:23.
Mustafa has been performing well at the Nordic Cross Country Championships where he emerged as a bronze medalist in 1997 at the junior level. He improved on his performance to win silver at the senior level in 2003. Finally, he managed to cap it all by winning the coveted gold medal in 2006.
In 2007, he broke the 31-year old Swedish record by posting a time of 8:05:75. In 2010, he competed in the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters making a triple win at the Swedish Athletics Championships.
5. Abdisalam Ibrahim
Abdisalam Ibrahim was born on May 1, 1991. He relocated to Norway in 1998. He debuted his football career at Øyer-Tretten as junior championships player. He later moved to play for Fjellhamar. He started off playing for English clubs by joining Manchester City as a junior player in early 2007. He was a member of the team that beat Chelsea 4-2 on aggregate in the FA Youth Cup final.
He transitioned to senior level as a midfielder when he played against Scunthorpe United at the beginning of 2010. He launched his Premier League entry by becoming a substitute player in which his team drew 0-0 against Liverpool.
So far, he has played for several English clubs and on loan to a number of non-English clubs. He probably sets record as one of those players who played on loan for so many clubs and warmed so many benches.
4. Mohammed Ahamed
Born in 1985, Mohammed Ahamed Jama relocated to Norway where he became a Somali-Norwegian footballer. He is popularly known as ‘Mo’. He debuted his Norwegian football career by playing for Fløya. He later moved to Tromsdalen in 2006 after which he was bought by Tromsø in 2009. He is remembered for having scored in the 5-0 devastating win against Daugava Daugavpils of Latvia. Tromsø loaned him to Sarpsborg 08 where he played for one year. Later on, he rejoined his old club Tromsdalen to continue with his football playing.
3. Ayub Daud
Born Ayuub Daaud to Daud Hussein (former player with Somali National Football team), he was moved to Italy at age 5. He joined Juventus junior club (youth sector) in the year 2000 and played for Under 20 squad (Primavera) for the 2008-9 Season.
As part of the Juventus squad of 2009, he was one of the top players of the season with 20 goals to his credit. He eventually made his entry into the Juventus senior team in the dying minutes of Serie A game against Bologna in which Juventus won 4-1.
In August 2009, Daud switched gear from Juventus to FC Crotone on loan. His loan period did not expire as he encountered difficulties with his new club. He was later re-loaned to Lumezzane. After nearly 2 years on loan for the two clubs, he joined A.S. Gubbio 1910 in January 2011. He played for Gubbio until August 2013 after which he switched from Italy to Hungary to play for Budapest Honvéd FC.
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2. Liban Abdi
Abdi was born in 1988 in Borao, Somalia. His family was forced to move into exile in Norway during the Somali war. At age 14, his family moved him to England. At age 15, he joined Sheffield United’s youth academy. He later signed a two-year contract with Sheffield and loaned to Ferencváros. Afterward, he joined Olhanense, Portugal towards the end of 2012.
Recently, Abdi has been playing for Al-Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia.
1. Mo Farah
Mohamed Mukhtar Jama “Mo” Farah was born in Mogadishu in 1983. His family was forced to flee Mogadishu due to hostilities occasioned by his native region (Somaliland) declaring secession from Somalia. The later moved into Djibouti before relocating to Hounslow, England, at age of eight.
At age 13, Farah participated in Cross Country championship in the London Youth Games representing Hounslow. In the subsequent year, he won one of the five English school titles, which made him get recognition as a highly potential athlete.
He became one of the first two athletes to join Endurance Performance Center at St. Mary’s University College where he was studying and training.
In July 2006, he became Britain’s second-fastest runner in 5000m after clocking 13:9:40. In August the same month, he participated in European Championship in Gothenburg by running in the 5000m race. He won the silver medal.
By the end of 2017, Farah has won so many medals in so many races including 3000m, 5000m, and 10000m. He won Olympics gold medal in 10000m and 5000m at Rio Olympics. He has also won European championships in 1500m races.
Somalia is a beautiful East African country and home to great athletes. However, due to a long period of wars and turmoil, Somali sports were disrupted for decades and most of its sports athletes relocated abroad, mainly Europe. Some even acquired citizenship of those countries.
Thus, there are many Somali-born citizens of other countries. Nonetheless, they still have a strong attachment to their motherland. We have considered some of them being Somalis since most of them were forced to relocate as refugees due to the war.