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The Sonny Side of Sports - 2002-10-30


Greetings to all our Sonny Side of Sports fans in Africa and around the world. Thanks for checking out my web page. March was a very memorable month for me, because I had a chance to interview two of Africa's biggest sports heroes, Liberian soccer great George Weah and Mozambique's Olympic champion, Maria "The Maputo Express" Mutola. Maria is widely regarded as the greatest female 800-meter runner in history and she's still going strong, as she's getting ready to defend her Olympic title in August in Athens.

George visited our VOA headquarters on March 2. The 38-year-old Liberian football hero is the only African ever selected as World Player of the Year by FIFA, football's international governing body. He earned that honor in 1995.

George is currently a UNICEF goodwill ambassador with an established record of humanitarian work, particularly in the field of child soldiers. George said one of the main objectives of his visit was to check on the possibility of airing VOA programs on his new radio and television stations in Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

Like George Weah, Maria "The Maputo Express" Mutola also has a big heart and she's shown us its size through her humanitarian work. I had a chance to interview Maria over the telephone on March 26 from her training base in Johannesburg, South Africa. Maria is trying to help the next generation of Mozambique's athletes through a foundation that she has established. She says creating the foundation was one of her goals, and it's important to her to see more athletes from Mozambique qualifying for the Olympics.

As I told my Lagos buddy, "Nightline Africa Sports" host Segun "Dot On The Spot" Adeyemi, my respect and admiration for Maria Mutola and George Weah only grew after talking with them. They are both proud Africans, and Africa should be even more proud of their accomplishments off the track and off the soccer pitch, as they give back to their brothers and sisters on the continent.

Cheers,

Sonny

If you would like to send Sonny Young your comments or apply to be the Sports Listener of the Day, you can e-mail Sonny at: sonny@voanews.com

If you would like to send regular mail, the address is:

Sonny Young The Sonny Side of Sports Room 1613 Voice of America 330 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20237

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