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Sport's most influential black figures

INFLUENTIAL: Mo Farah, left, and Patrick Vieira (PA)

THE FOLLOWING list encompasses several of the UK’s most influential black people in sport.

From athletic icons such as Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, to football legends like Patrick Vieira, these individuals are not only competing at the highest level, but excelling as well.

Moreover, their efforts away from training and competition are equally apparent with all of them actively involved in coaching, philanthropic and charitable efforts.

Mo Farah (Athlete, Olympic Gold Medallist 10,000m and 5,000m, World Champion)

Somali-born British long-distance and middle-distance runner Mo Farah has amassed numerous victories, broken multiple records and has won various accolades for his athletic achievements. He is only the second man in history to have won double victory in both the Olympics and World Championships in the distance events. Farah chooses to reside in Portland, Oregon with his family where he continues to train and take part in various philanthropic efforts.

Maggie Alphonsi MBE (England Rugby Captain/Divisional Talent Development Officer for the London and South East)

Maggie Alphonsi is a British women’s rugby player of African Caribbean descent who plays primarily as a flanker for Saracens W.R.F.C. Maggie was part of the World Cup winning-squad of 2014. Since then then she has retired and now continues to coach and promote female participation in sport, as well as becoming an ambassador for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2010 she was named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.

Adedoyin Adepitan MBE (TV Presenter, disability rights campaigner, Patron, Wheel Power)

Accomplished Wheelchair Basketball player and television presenter Adedoyin Adepitan was born in Lagos, Nigeria, shortly before immigrating to the UK. He was a member of the Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and the gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup. Aside from sport, Adepitan has frequently featured on television as a presenter, anchor, actor and guest. He is also regularly involved in charitable work, particularly those focused on helping people with disabilities.

Michael Emenalo (Technical Director, Chelsea)

After retiring from professional football Emenalo joined Chelsea Football Club as an Assistant Coach and has since risen through the ranks to become Techincal Director. Emenalo enjoyed a successful playing career, turning out for a host of clubs in several different leagues and earning 14 caps for the Nigerian National team.

Christine Ohuruogu (Athlete; World & Commonwealth Games 400-metre champion) (Board Member of the Football Association)

Christine Ohuruogu was born in Newham, east London, to Nigerian parents and has since achieved incredible success in athletics. Specialising in the 400m event, Ohuruogu is a current double World Champion and a former Commonwealth and Olympic Champion. She is the first British female to win two World Championship titles, and the first British female to win three global titles. Outside of Athletics she is the author of children’s books and involves herself in coaching and charitable work.

Luol Deng (Miami Heat and Great Britain; Team GB Olympian)

British NBA All-Star Luol Deng currently turns out for the Miami Heat and has previously played for the Great Britain national basketball team. Deng’s talent was apparent from an early age, at 14 he was considered the second most promising high school senior, after being edged out only by superstar Lebron James. Deng also made ACC history by becoming only the 10 freshman to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage. Since initially being drafted by the Pheonix Suns, Deng has gone on to become one of the league’s most reliable small forwards. Off the court Deng is a spokesperson for the World Food Programme, takes part in numerous charities and is an avid fan of Arsenal.

Jessica Ennis-Hill (Olympic heptathlon gold medallist, World heptathlon and pentathlon champion)

Sheffield-born Jessica Ennis-Hill has enjoyed a hugely successful career in, and out of track and field after amassing numerous wins, achievements and titles. Ennis-Hill is the current British national record holder the indoor pentathlon and heptathlon as well as the former British record holder in high jump and 100m hurdles. The 28-year-old continues to reside in Sheffield as she involves herself in coaching efforts, charitable work as well as writing for The Times as a columnist.

Patrick Vieira, Head of the Elite Development Squad, Manchester City FC

Retired footballer Patrick Vieira rose to prominence as the midfield backbone and eventual captain of Arsenal from 1995-2005. The team enjoyed huge success, winning three Premier League titles and four FA cups. Vieira has also achieved at international level as well, winning the World Cup in 1998 and the Euro’s in 2000. Since retiring in 2011 Vieira has joined Manchester City as Football Development Executive. Outside of football Vieira is a Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and is actively involved in tackling racism in football.

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