7 legendary players you might not have known were left-handed
Counting in at just 12 percent of the world’s population, those left-handed among us need all the representation they can get, and these sportspersons are perfect candidates for that cause.
The left doesn’t get enough recognition compared to the right. No, we’re not talking about political ideologies but about one man, Dean R. Campbell, and his drive which led him to found the Lefthanders International, Inc. and subsequently on August 13, 1976, first observe International Lefthanders Day.
Every year since then, the day has been an occasion to celebrate the uniqueness and distinction of being left-handed. In a predominantly right-handed world, it is a day dedicated to the 708 million ‘lefties’.
In the sporting world too, left-handed athletes have left their mark prominently enough. We look at some of the most famous examples.
1. LEO MESSI
Arguably the world’s best footballer, he uses his right hand to write, among other things. However, when it comes to his craft, he uses his strong left foot to play. But that doesn’t mean he can’t use his right foot to work his magic when he NEEDS to!
2. GARETH BALE
Bale was the reason his school’s PE teacher had to write special rules just to keep him from using his left foot! That was a pretty good indicator of his future greatness.
Gareth Bale’s 100 goals for Real Madrid
• Left Foot: 70
• Right Foot: 11
• Headers: 19 pic.twitter.com/eTpB7JSRH4
— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) February 11, 2019
While the outright best left-footed player in recent times has to be Messi, Bale is definitely one to be included as one of the greatest.
3. MARIA SHARAPOVA
Back in 2018, Maria Sharapova swapped her racquet to her left-hand during a match and it took a lot of people by surprise. However, it’s nothing new for the Russian who is left-handed by birth.
“I grew up, like, naturally left-handed, so I do a lot of things with my left hand, and I played tennis with my left hand for some time, so I sometimes do it on the run.”
4. SACHIN TENDULKAR
The legendary Master Blaster of India is left-handed in his day-to-day activities, he swung the bat and threw the ball with his right hand.
He sent out this funny tweet to mark the occasion.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 13, 2018
5. MANNY PACQUIAO
Regarded by historians as one of the greatest boxers of all time, southpaw Pacquiao is only eight-division world champion in the history of the sport, with 12 major world titles to his name. Although he can be ambixtrous during his bouts, his dominant left hand always does most of the damage.
Currently, Pacquiao’s popularity has found him a place in politics, serving as a senator of the Philippines.
6. MARTINA NAVARATILOVA
The Czech-born left-hander peaked at new heights during the 1970s and 80s with her fitness and determination. The only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks, she won 18 Grand Slam titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
Unfortunately, at a less progressive time of the world, her sexual orientation garnered as much attention as her game but today, she is undoubtedly regarded as one of the best who ever played.
7. RAFAEL NADAL
The curious case of Rafa Nadal is that does everything right-handed except for that which he is most known for, and not even he can explain why.
Making the switch early in his childhood, playing left-handed has offered Nadal a host of advantages. It allows his stronger right hand to power his feared double-handed backhand.
Rafael Nadal’s powerful inside out left handed forehand, the groundstroke that has defined his illustrious career.
— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) August 4, 2019
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