From boxing, basketball to cricket; Muslim athletes have shown the world that they can do it all. Here’s a list of some of the greatest Muslim athletes of all time:
1. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport. Ali is highly regarded for the skills he displayed in the ring. He is one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years.
2. Ghada Shouaa
Syria has only won one Olympic gold medal, which was claimed by heptathlete Ghada Shouaa at the 1996 Olympics. A former national team basketball player, she was raised in a Christian family and started athletics only in 1991.
3. Marat Safin
He is a Russian retired tennis player and politician. Safin won two Grand Slam tournaments and reached the world no. 1 ranking during his career. Safin is the older brother of former world No. 1 WTA player, Dinara Safina. They are the first and only brother–sister tandem in tennis history who have both achieved no. 1 rankings.
4. Rubab Raza
Rubab is an Olympic and national-record-holding swimmer from Pakistan. She became Pakistan’s first female Olympic swimmer when she swam at the 2004 Olympics.
5. Jahangir Khan
Khan is world’s finest squash player. During his career he won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten times. From 1981 to 1986, he was unbeaten in competitive play. During that time he won 555 matches consecutively, the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sports as recorded by Guinness World Records.
6. Nawal El Moutakawel
She is highly revered as the first, female Muslim athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal. She won the 400m hurdles in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, thus making her mark in history. She is also the first Muslim woman to be elected in the International Olympics Committee and holds the 2010 Laureus Achievement Award.
7. Bernard Hopkins
Hopkins is an American professional boxer who currently fights at light heavyweight and previously at middleweight. He reigned as world middleweight titlist from 1994 until 2005, unifying and successfully defending his title a record 20 times. He won the International Boxing Federation title in 1994, then added the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, and The Ring titles in 2001 and became the first man to hold all four major sanctioning bodies’ titles when he won the World Boxing Organization title in 2004.
8. Shiekha Maitha Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Maktoum
Maktoum won silver in the 2006 Doha Asian Games and competed in taekwondo during the 2008 Olympics. She also holds a world record for being the first Gulf woman to hold her nations flag (the U.A.E) at the Olympics.
9. Shaquille O’Neal
O’Neal is a retired American professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on the television program Inside the NBA. He was one of the heaviest players ever to play in the NBA. O’Neal played for six teams throughout his 19-year NBA career.
10. Shiekha Latifa Bint Ahmed Al Maktoum
Shiekha is an equestrian and has won plenty of medals in regional championships. She won a silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games.
11. Mike Tyson
Tyson is an American former professional boxer. He held the undisputed world heavyweight championship and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, 12 of them in the first round.
12. Kiran Khan
This record-holding swimmer has competed for Pakistan at the 2008 Beijing and at Asian Commonwealth games amongst other competitions and is still only 21 years of age.
13. Javed Miandad
Javed Miandad is the greatest batsman Pakistan has ever produced. He is widely known for – his historic last ball big six against India in 1986, when 4 runs were required to win – winning an international game in that fashion for the first time.
14. Roqaya Al Gassra
Gassra has won medals in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, winning the competition with a gold medal in the 200 meter sprint and a bronze in the 100 meter run. She has also won medals from Asian Indoor and Arabian Championships. Gassara made history when she became the first to run in a hijab during the 2004 Olympics. She is of inspiring stature and was named flag bearer for Bahrain at the 2008 Olympics.
15. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
3 times NCAA Champion at UCLA, All-Time Leading Scorer in NBA History, 6 times NBA Champion, 6 times NBA MVP, 2 times NBA Finals MVP, 19 times NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul Jabbar has always been great at basketball.
16. Rania El Wani
Rania is an Egyptian swimmer who has competed in three Olympic Games, as well as various other African competitions. She has won four medals competing in the 1991, 1995, and 1999 Africa Championships as well as the 1999 African Games competition. Wani also won medals during the 1997 Mediterranean Games as well as the 1999 Arab Games.
17. Zinedine Zidane
One of soccer’s all-time greats, Zinedine Zidane led France to victory at the 1998 World Cup. Renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.
18. Hassiba Boulmerka
She is the second Muslim woman ever to have earned a gold medal during the Olympics, which she competed in and won in 1992. Hassiba was part of the competitors who partook in the 1500 metre race of 1992 and came out the victor, earning her country its first ever Olympic gold medal along the way.
19. Amir Khan
Amir Khan is a British professional boxer and two-time former world champion, having held the unified WBA and IBF light welterweight titles. He currently holds the WBC Silver welterweight title.
20. Laila Ali
The daughter of retired boxing legend, Muhammad Ali; Laila Ali, born in the USA, followed in her father’s footsteps and established a remarkable boxing career of her own. During which, Laila has been crowned boxing champion no less than three times, earning three world titles during the span of her career.