Crio’s Q: Minnows (as distinct from bolters)

Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka has usurped perennial doubles journeyman Max Mirnyi as her country’s greatest ever tennis star by winning this year’s Australian Open and capturing the coveted No1 world ranking forty years after her compatriot, gymnast Olga Korbut, was named World Sportswoman of the Year.

Australia prides itself on “punching above its weight” so should therefore be quick with acknowledgement for other “minnow” nations’ achievements.

Most notable in recent times, perhaps, has been the Grand Slam Golf record of Northern Irishmen. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have won the past two U.S. Opens and Darren Clarke is the reigning British Open Champion.

These are great stories to be celebrated. There must be a host of others which buck the behemoth trend?


  1. John Butler says

    Crio, I think we kid ourselves a bit with that ‘punching above our weight’ issue.

    In population terms only, yes.

    But in terms of results for the resources poured into sport, no way.

    In terms of truly fighting the odds, I think the Afghan cricket team would have to rate highly.

    Not that the ICC sees any need to really acknowledge it.

  2. John Butler says

    Jamaican sprinters.

    Kenyan runners.

  3. Jamaican bobsledders!! :-)

    NZ did fairly well at the World Cups in both soccer and rugby.

  4. Anthony Nesty (Surinam via college in USA) Olympic 100m Butterfly gold medalist

  5. Ryan Pini (PNG): 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m Butterfly gold medalist

  6. Eric Moussambani Malonga (Eric The Eel) Equatorial Guinea certainly was not a bolter in the 100 metres breastroke at the Sydney Olympics

  7. The Bahamas won the Women’s 4X100 metres relay at the Sydney Olympics and finished second four years earlier in Atlanta . The best runner in that team, Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie won Gold in the 100, 200 and relay at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester (2002) During the decade between 1996 and 2006 the Bahaman women also won individual and relay events in the World Championships and the Pan-American Games. Wikipedia gives Bahamas 2010 population as 354,563. That’s about the same size as Canberra. The Bahamas definitely punch above their weight.

  8. Green Bay Packers and Geelong footy club. Both provincial towns holding national titles.

  9. Tasmania. (Cricket)

    Two shields and three one day titles in the past five years.

  10. John Butler says

    Phantom, I was in discussion with one of your fellow Taswegians on the weekend.

    She was most off put when I referred to Tasmania as Tassie.

    Is this a common linguistic sore point down south?

  11. Tassie is fine JB. Perfect actually.

    She wasn’t from Hobart by any chance? Hobart considers itself as a seperate and superior State.

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