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Haggai Erlich

Ethiopian athlete, was born on 7 August 1932 in Jato, a village located some eighty miles from Addis Ababa, outside the town of Mendida in Shewa Province. His father died before he was born, and young Abebe was adopted by Bikila Demisse, a shepherd. Having completed his studies at age twelve at the local traditional school, he followed in his adopted father’s footsteps. At the age of twenty, he decided to venture out of peasantry and made his way on foot to the capital, to join the Imperial Bodyguard. In 1954 he married Yewibdar Welde-Giyorgis, with whom he fathered four children. He distinguished himself as a talented player of gena, a traditional Ethiopian hockey game, but remained an anonymous soldier until the age of twenty-four. At that time, while guarding the departure of the Ethiopian delegation to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne he decided to begin competing ...

Article

Jesús Cosamalón

was born in the province of Chincha, Peru, on 26 June 1946. Even as an adolescent, he stood out in the sprint competitions held by his high school in his home province, La Gran Unidad Escolar “José Pardo,” especially in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. When he was 17 years old he began to train with Luis Derteano and excelled in regional track events. In 1969, in the city of Quito, Ecuador, he set the Peruvian national record for the 100-meter dash at 10.2 seconds, and he achieved the same time at the Bolivarian Games of 1970 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. However, both results were measured manually, and were thus not official. Acevedo’s official 100-meter record is 10.43 seconds, which was recorded electronically in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1977. During the Sixth Pan American Games, held in Cali, Colombia, in 1971 Acevedo won the bronze medal in ...

Article

April Yoder

best known in the United States as the oldest of Major League Baseball’s Alou brothers, was born 12 May 1935 on a farm in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. The oldest of six children of José Rojas, a blacksmith and carpenter, and Virginia Alou, a homemaker, Felipe Rojas Alou attended high school in Santo Domingo. In 1954 he represented his country in the javelin and discus in the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Mexico. After beginning his studies in pre-med at the University of Santo Domingo, Alou returned to Mexico for the 1955 Pan-American Games, this time on the baseball team. His performance in Mexico helped the Dominican Republic win a gold medal and inspired many professional baseball teams in the United States to offer him contracts.

At first Alou rejected the offers to play in the United States because he wanted to continue his studies But after ...

Article

April Yoder

best known as the youngest of Major League Baseball’s Alou brothers, was born on 24 March 1942 in rural Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. The fourth of six children born to José Rojas, a carpenter and blacksmith, and homemaker Virginia Alou, Jesús María Rojas Alou attended secondary school in Santo Domingo. He left school at the age of 15, before completing his degree, to play professional baseball. Horacio Martínez, the scout who signed his brothers Felipe and Mateo, saw the potential for the youngest Alou to play in one of US baseball’s major leagues (the American League and the National League) despite his preference for fishing over formalized baseball.

Alou began his career in the Dominican Republic as a bullpen pitcher for the Leones del Escogido Escogido Lions and spent his first season in US baseball as a pitcher with the San Francisco Giants affiliate in Hastings Nebraska During the ...

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April Yoder

was born on 22 December 1938 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. The third of six children born on the farm of José Altagracia Rojas García, who also worked as a carpenter and blacksmith, and Virginia Alou, Mateo Rojas Alou began playing baseball as a child. By the age of 18, he had risen to the highest level of amateur baseball in the Dominican Republic: Double A. By this time, in 1956, his older brother Felipe had already signed with the New York Giants, and managers and coaches across the country predicted that the younger Rojas Alou would follow in his brother’s footsteps. A year after he returned from Mexico, where he played alongside rising Dominican stars such as Manuel Mota and Juan Marichal in the first Youth Baseball World Series in 1956 Mateo signed a professional contract with the Giants scout Horacio Martínez the same scout who ...

Article

Geoffrey Levett

was born on 21 September 1963 in Swetes Village, Antigua, the fourth of seven children. Ambrose’s family had no background in cricket, although his mother, Hillie, was a West Indies fan. As a young man, Ambrose preferred to play football and basketball. On leaving school at age 17 he was apprenticed in his father’s trade of carpentry. At this time he grew to his great height of 6 feet, 7 inches, and was considering pursuing a basketball career in the United States. He remained in Antigua, however, and, encouraged by his mother, started playing club cricket at the relatively late age of 20.

Ambrose’s great height and raw pace soon attracted the attention of coaches, and he was selected to play for Antigua and Barbuda in 1985. He made his first-class debut for the Leeward Islands in 1986 He failed to make an impression that season and was ...

Article

Pedro M. Cameselle

was born on 1 October 1901 on the outskirts of the city of Salto, located in northern Uruguay. His father was believed to be José Ignacio Andrade, listed as a 97-year-old witness on his birth certificate (see Morales 12, 26). Though it is unlikely that he reached this advanced age, the father, supposedly an African-born slave who escaped from Brazil, had at one time worked as a brujo (an expert in African magic rituals). He died soon after Andrade’s birth. His mother, Anastasia Quiróz, said to be born in Argentina, laundered clothes for a living. Andrade was the youngest of four siblings, their names being Ramona, Nicasio, and Anastasia. Although it is uncertain when the family first relocated to Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1917 they permanently moved to a tenement in Palermo one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the capital city Andrade worked selling newspapers and shining shoes and ...

Article

Juan Angola Maconde

was born on 22 June 1965 in Chillamani, in the municipality of Coripata, in the Nor Yungas Province of the department of La Paz, Bolivia. He was the son of Petronila Landavery and Benigno Angola. Angola is a common surname among the Afro-descendant population of Bolivia, which is estimated to number about 18,000, out of a national population of 11 million; like Demetrio and his family, most Afro-Bolivians live in the Yungas region. Although the Afro-Bolivian population is one of the smallest in South America, it is also one of the oldest, originating in the late sixteenth century with Africans (many from the Angola region of Africa) brought as slave labor to work the silver mines in Bolivia’s mountains.

Demetrio Angola attended the Luis Rivero Sanchez School and then the Eduardo Abaroa School both in Coripata His sports teacher Felipe Torres coached Angola the year he represented his school at ...

Article

Aaron Pride

was born on 6 March 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica. He spent his early life in Jamaica with his extended family after his mother left her children in the care of relatives to seek work in the United States; Maurice eventually joined her there when he was 12. In his mother’s absence, Ashley’s grandmother provided a home for him and his siblings and instilled in them an appreciation for hard work and education. She had been a teacher and encouraged her grandchildren to pursue an education. When his family did resettle in New York in 1978 Ashley learned several board games including chess In his youth he played in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and immersed himself in the literature on the game He read books on renowned world chess champions like the nineteenth century American Paul Morphy and studied strategy and tactics Ashley s commitment to the game and persistence ...

Article

Born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, Maurice Ashley immigrated with his family to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of twelve. When he was fourteen years old, he fell in love with the game of chess after a classmate soundly defeated him. Intent on avenging the loss, Ashley read a book about the first great chess player in the United States, the nineteenth-century Louisianan Paul Morphy. Until then Ashley was only casually interested in the game, but he soon became drawn to its complexity and dazzling plays.

Ashley s ascent to the upper echelon of chess was long and gradual His start at age fourteen was relatively late by chess standards Some children begin playing as young as four years old and some of the best players earn the title of international grandmaster by age fourteen Although he failed to make the first team on his chess club at ...

Article

was born on 10 November 1969 in Tuluá, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, into the large family of a sugarcane worker. A striker, he was part of the great generation of players who emerged in Colombia in the late 1980s and early 1990s and which included Carlos Valderrama and Rene Higuita. He is also known for his four nicknames that identified him throughout his career: “Tino Asprilla,” as an abbreviation of his name; “Fausto,” which is used primarily by the press; “the Black Gazelle,” highlighting his great speed, and “the Octopus,” for his voracious appetite.

He began his football career for the local Carlos Sarmiento Lora School before starting his professional career in 1988 with Cúcuta Deportivo one of the more humble clubs in Colombia s elite league Categoría Primera A One year later after scoring seventeen goals in thirty six games he was transferred to Atlético Nacional of Medellin ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

soccer player, was born Abedi Ayew on 5 September 1964 in the small town of Kibi, Eastern Region, Ghana. His family moved to the village of Oko, near Accra, the national capital when Abedi was still quite young. Along with his fourteen half- and full-siblings (including younger brother Kwame, who also played in European club football and won an Olympic Gold Medal for Ghana in 1992), he grew up in poverty in a community that had no electricity. Like so many young Ghanaians, Ayew began to play soccer when he was a small boy, running barefooted around his town and at the Dome Anglican primary school. Older players struggled to keep up with Ayew in his early days, and by the time he entered adolescence, he had developed into a very talented attacking midfielder. In 1978 Real Tamale United a soccer club in the country s northern ...

Article

María de Lourdes Ghidoli

was born on 16 November 1950 in Ingeniero White a port town located near the city of Bahía Blanca in the province of Buenos Aires though some sources incorrectly list his birthplace as San Nicolás de Los Arroyos where his wife was born His father Walter was a goalie for the Club Atlético Puerto Comercial of the same city and as a child Héctor joined the club s youth teams Initially he had no fixed position he could wear the number 4 on his jersey as a defender as easily as the number 7 as a forward During this time he also played other sports such as basketball and volleyball and Baley later recalled that the sport he liked the least was soccer But because his father had been a goalie and none of his other four sons played that position Héctor tried to follow in his father s ...

Article

Terence M. Mashingaidze

nationalist politician, first titular president of independent Zimbabwe, statesman, peace broker, clergyman, author, soccer administrator, academic, poet, and journalist, was born on 5 March 1936 at Esiphezini, in Essexvale (now Esigodini) District near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. The versatile Banana’s father, Aaron, was a migrant laborer from Malawi while his mother, Jese, was a Zimbabwean Ndebele woman. Banana married Janet Mbuyazwe in 1961; the marriage produced three sons and a daughter. Banana attended Mzinyati primary school and Tegwani High School. He trained as a teacher at Tegwani Training Institute and then attended Epworth Theological Seminary, resulting in his ordination as a Methodist preacher in 1962 Subsequently he worked as a Methodist schools manager principal chairperson of the Bulawayo Council of Churches and member of the Rhodesian Christian Council and World Council of Churches In the 1970s Banana attained a BA with honors in theology through distance learning from ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born John Charles Bryan Barnes on 7 November 1963 in Kingston, Jamaica, the son of Roderick Kenrick Barnes, a Trinidadian, and Frances Jeanne Hill, a Jamaican. At the time of his birth, his father was a colonel in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and his mother was a television host. The elder Barnes, who named his son after John Charles, a famous Welsh soccer player, encouraged his son’s interest in sports. Barnes grew up in Up-Park Camp, headquarters of the JDF, and attended St. George’s Roman Catholic School in Kingston until his family moved to London, England, following his father’s promotion to general and appointment as defense adviser to the High Commission of Jamaica in London in 1976 He continued his education in London at St Marylebone Grammar School and then at the Haverstock School in Camden Town Barnes who started playing soccer in Jamaica continued at the ...

Article

Maria Lucia Cacciato

was born on 18 December 1962 in Retén Magdalena (Colombia), the son of a family of humble fishermen. He attended school until the fifth grade, and as an adolescent he worked selling fish in a market plaza in order to earn a living and support himself as a boxer. After working hard to succeed in boxing and finding success on various stages in the Americas, he was crowned world champion in the flyweight division on 13 February 1987, after defeating the Panamanian boxer Hilario Zapata. Two months later he defended his title against the Irish boxer Dave McAuley. Bassa retained the world title only until 1989, when he was defeated by the Venezuelan boxer Jesús Rojas. Critics said he was a disciplined and brave boxer, although he had little technique.

After retiring from his athletic career Bassa worked selling books and he became a successful publishing entrepreneur The ...

Article

Anene Ejikeme

Nigerian world featherweight boxing champion, more popularly known as Hogan “Kid” Bassey, was born in the village of Ufok Ubet, Creek Town, Calabar, Nigeria, on 3 June 1932 He was one of five children born to his parents who were cultivators of modest means At the age of eleven Bassey moved to Lagos to live with a maternal aunt and to continue his education Sending a child often the eldest to live with a relative in a town or city with better educational opportunities and with the expectation that the child would later assume responsibility for parents siblings or other relatives was common practice It was in Lagos that Bassey encountered the sport of boxing As a youth he enjoyed school although he was not a great scholar sports however were his passion and he participated in soccer swimming running jumping and other athletics first at school then at ...

Article

Juan Navarrete

was born in Santiago, Chile, on 21 June 1984, the son of a Haitian father and a Chilean mother. Beausejour is popularly known as “Palmatoria,” which is the name of a black soccer player portrayed in local comic books. His parents met while his father was studying medicine in Santiago, but the couple split up when Beausejour was 2 years old, when his father returned to Haiti to work. He was raised by his mother’s family of Mapuche origin in Estación Central, a working-class neighborhood of Santiago.

Beausejour demonstrated great talent at a young age, and in 2004 he began to play in the lower divisions of the Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica teams. After two years in the professional Chilean league, he was recruited to play for a Swiss club, Servette, and in 2005 he was hired by Grêmio one of the best of the Brazilian ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

soccer goalkeeper, was born in the town of Mouandé in Sanaga-Maritime province, Cameroon on 8 October 1954. His family considered education to be Bell's highest priority as a child, but he already showed the rebellious streak that characterized his professional career. Bell spent over a year in jail when he was seventeen years old, but he was acquitted and completed his secondary education. He had begun to excel as a soccer goalkeeper by the time he reached secondary school. By 1969 he had become one of leading teenage soccer players in his country, and began his professional career with the Union de Douala football club. Thanks in no small part to Bell's play, the Union de Douala won the 1979 African Cup of Champions Clubs the leading international club competition in the continent In Cameroon his only serious rival as a top goalkeeper was Thomas Nkono who ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

on 16 June 1914, the son of a boat repairer. Information about his early life is scant, but it is known that some of Ben Barek’s ancestry was from Senegal. By 1921 he had begun to play soccer with only a rudimentary ball made of fabric and sometimes played games where only he and a goalie challenged a full team from a different neighborhood. By the time he was fourteen years old, Ben Barek joined his first club, FC El Ouatane of Casablanca. His speed and scoring ability soon made him a star, even if his fame was not matched by financial riches in the hardscrabble world of Moroccan club soccer in the 1930s. He therefore found work in the gas industry to make a living when a young man. From 1930 Ben Barek was a top player for the second division side Idéal Club in Casablanca joining ...