08/03/2018 17:10 SAST | Updated 08/03/2018 17:23 SAST

Women In Sport Worth Celebrating

The question is, can we ever let these women retire?

Serena Williams has won more Grand Slam tennis titles than any other player in the Open era.
AI Project / Reuters
Serena Williams has won more Grand Slam tennis titles than any other player in the Open era.

A South African proverb goes, "wathinta umfazi, wathint' imbokodo", which translates to "you strike a woman, you strike a rock". It means no matter how hard you try to bring a woman down, you will never succeed –as she is as strong as a rock.

International Women's Day on March 8 celebrates and honours extraordinary women around the world. HuffPost looks at the most unforgettable women in sport:

Serena Williams

AI Project / Reuters

Arguably the best tennis player in history – male or female – Serena Williams is a phenomenal talent. To put it into perspective, she is the first tennis player to win 23 Grand Slam titles in the Open era, something neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal have achieved.

She gave birth to her daughter last year, and aims to return to Grand Slam-winning form in time for the French Open in May, according to coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

It's official. My comeback is here. This Thursday I will start playing tennis again professionally for the first time since giving birth to my daughter. This whole month I am playing tournaments in California and Florida- both my home states. Thursday, the day I play my very first match, marks international women's day. My comeback could not have come on a better day and I decided I wanted to do something different let you all be apart of my long journey back (if you want of course!!) So I created my Serena Gold toned "S" pin. When I am playing you can wear it and show support not only from me but also for my charity which supports the Yetunde Price Resource center. I want this gold "S" mean something special to you personally. What is one S word in your life that means something to you? Mine is Strong and Sure! So when I wear my "S" pin I am representing Strength, and Sureness. What would your "S" mean? They are for now only available for my fans that come see my at Indian wells, and Miami starting Wednesday as well as Thursday when I play!! Sooooo if you are watching me stop by the Serena booth to grab a "S" pin. Post pics of you wearing your "S" and tag me! Thanks for the support I look forward to seeing you out there!!

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Williams won the Australian Open last year while pregnant, beating her sister, Venus, in the final, and went on to scoop the 2018 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year.

Although she suffered potentially life-threatening blood clots after giving birth, she didn't make too much of it, saying: "I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate."

Williams is the epitome of "you strike a woman, you strike a rock" – with her return to the tour in 2018, who knows what great heights she could reach?

Caster Semenya

Robert Hradil via Getty Images

What a year 2017 was for South Africa's Caster Semenya! She may have narrowly missed out to Serena Williams on the 2018 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year, but she certainly owned the track.

The three-time 800m world champion made double history in August 2017, when she scooped the gold medal in the 800m event at the IAAF Championship in London. She defended her title for the second time and ran her lifetime best, with a time of 1:55.16.

"I have no time for nonsense."Caster Semenya

This was the same race in which she took gold in the IAAF World Championship at Berlin 2009 and Daegu 2013, not forgetting 2016, when she won her second 800m Olympic gold medal in Rio.

Getty Images for Laureus

Semenya "has no time for nonsense" on or off the track. This was evident when right-wing British columnist Katie Hopkins gave the Queen of Track flak in the Mail Online, alleging "questionable gender". Semenya responded: "Those are the lyrics they've been singing since 2009, so sometimes you get annoyed or you get bored ... I have no time for nonsense."

Desiree Ellis and Banyana Banyana

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Banyana Banyana were the silver living to Bafana Bafana's dark cloud in 2017.

Banyana won the 2017 Cosafa Cup in September and were awarded Caf's Women's Team of the Year 2017 in January, under the leadership of Desiree Ellis.

The South African Football Association announced Ellis as the new Banyana Banyana coach after she had served 18 months as caretaker coach.


Here are some of Ellis' notable achievements:

  • She won eight, drew two and lost five of her 15 games as caretaker coach. Her side has scored 27 goals and conceded 15 in 12 away and three home matches.
  • Ellis is the only person to win the Cosafa Cup as a player and a coach.

  • She is a former Banyana captain.

Nigeria's Women Bobsled Team

HuffPost US

The Nigerian bobsled team didn't win any medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, but they certainly won the hearts of the African continent.

After picking up their bobsledding skills just 15 months prior to competing, Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere proudly flew the flag for Nigeria – and Africa as a whole – in South Korea.

These women did something no one has done before, becoming the first Olympic bobsled team in history to represent an African nation.