Sport’s 2016 Mighty Minnows

Dwight Gayle of the West Indies Cricket team

With our satellite’s eye view of the world of sporting nations, at GSN we are well aware that sporting excellence is not the preserve

of the biggest and most successful nations only.

Somewhat arbitrarily, we usually consider these to be the top 20 in the Global Cup ranking, which also roughly translates as countries which finish the year very close to, or just over, the 1000 GSN points mark.
When you track over 80 sports it’s easy however to see how sporting success has a broader geographical reach, and so we are happy to celebrate the successes of countries which, while ranking beyond the top 20 Global Cup positions, have produced some great performances in 2016.
First mention goes to those mighty minnows which have clinched a Global Cup title in at least one sport (their overall Global Cup standing is in parentheses): take a bow Uzbekistan (45th) for winning Boxing, ahead of two other nations outside the top 20, Cuba (38th) and Kazakhstan (37th). The same for Slovakia (42nd) the winner in Canoe/Kayak Slalom, Cuba (38th) in Greco-Roman Wrestling, Egypt (30th) in Squash and finally a ‘nation’ that is just a collective sporting concept, featuring athletes from 15 Caribbean countries: well done the West Indies (52nd) for taking top spot in Cricket (the only sport in which they feature on GSN) thanks to victories in both the Men’s and Women’s 20-20 World Cup, ahead of much bigger guns like Great Britain, India and Australia.
They may have not won a sport, but they still clinched a second-place finish in one, so a second round of applause goes to Finland (41st), runners-up in both Bandy and Cross Country Skiing (and third-placed in Ice Hockey), Belgium (35th) runners-up in Cyclocross, Belarus (39th) in Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline, Latvia (66th) in Bobsleigh and Ethiopia (26th) in Marathon.
And finally, well done on a podium finish for Malaysia (55th), third in Badminton, Colombia (40th) third in BMX, Azerbaijan (28th) third in Taekwondo and Free Wrestling, Thailand (44th) third in Weightlifting and Armenia (59th), which came third in Greco-Roman Wrestling.
And of course a special mention for Jamaica (33rd), third placed in Athletics behind the USA and Kenya and a very close second in the ranking of the world’s sportiest nations, the Per Capita Cup.
Sport knows no boundaries, and we at GSN are proud to highlight this in our continuous quest for the best in sporting excellence.