The evolving world of sport means a new decade is likely to see widespread change.

With superstars like Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer and Lewis Hamilton unlikely to be plying their trades in 2030, the stage is set for new names to come to the fore.

Omnisport's team of writers have tipped 20 20-year-olds to do just that over the next 10 years.

 

Men's football: Joao Felix

A €126m move from Benfica to Atletico Madrid made Joao Felix the second most expensive teenager in football history. His career in LaLiga is yet to truly ignite but the forward's lavish gifts are beyond doubt as he faces up to the decade when Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the stage for their native Portugal. Joao Felix is the anointed heir.

Basketball: Luka Doncic

The 2018 EuroLeague MVP and 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year, Doncic's incredible rise has continued unchecked this season – he is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists for the Dallas Mavericks. He should earn a first All-Star appearance this season and make his bow in the playoffs, where you would expect to see him featuring regularly in the coming years.

Cricket: Prithvi Shaw

Opening batsman Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a Test hundred on debut in 2018 and followed that up with a half-century in his second appearance. However, last year was one to forget for Shaw, who had injury problems before serving a six-month doping ban having taken a substance typically found in cough syrups. A first-class double hundred last month suggests he is ready to make up for lost time.

Tennis: Marketa Vondrousova

Although she was unable to win a title on the WTA Tour in 2019, Vondrousova was the runner-up at the French Open – one of three final appearances last year – and having risen to 16th in the world rankings she looks set to break the top 10 soon. The Czech's unorthodox playing style and penchant for drop shots makes her a particularly entertaining watch.

Formula One: Lando Norris

Norris enjoyed an excellent debut season in Formula One, helping McLaren to an impressive fourth place in the constructors' championship. After landing three straight points finishes to end the year, he carries momentum into 2020 and looks capable of challenging Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen over the next 10 years.

UFC: Chase Hooper

Featherweight Hooper was awarded a development deal after winning the second season of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2018 and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He improved his unbeaten mixed martial arts record to 8-0-1 by stopping David Teymur in the first round of a thoroughly impressive UFC debut in December.

American football: Trevor Lawrence

The NFL is blessed with talented young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, but the potential star of the 2020s will not enter the league until 2021 at the earliest. Clemson's Lawrence possess the size, skill and nerve to succeed at the next level. He is still yet to lose a game in college and is one win away from back-to-back National Championships.

Sport climbing: Janja Garnbret

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and Garnbret is a favourite for success. She successfully defended her bouldering and combined titles at last year's world championships and added gold in the lead discipline. The Slovenian's tally of 14 International Federation of Sport Climbing titles is unprecedented.

Rugby league: Tom Flegler

Front-rower Flegler enjoyed a hugely promising breakthrough year with Brisbane Broncos in 2019, featuring 23 times in his maiden campaign. He has reportedly knocked back a host of lucrative offers to remain with Brisbane in 2020 and will now aim to make an even bigger impact.

Women's football: Georgia Stanway

Vastly experienced for her age, Stanway joined Manchester City from Blackburn Rovers and made her Women's Super League debut at 16 in 2015. She won her second FA Cup with a goalscoring player-of-the-match display as City beat West Ham 3-0 in 2019's Wembley final and was the youngest member of an England squad Phil Neville led to the World Cup semi-finals. If the Lionesses are to take the next step over the coming decade, expect Stanway to play a vital role.

Rugby union: Marcus Smith

Harlequins fly-half Smith is knocking on the door for full England selection after an impressive first two years of his club career. He was man of the match in last July's win over Barbarians, which fans of Eddie Jones' side will hope is a sign of things to come over the next decade.

Golf: Matthew Wolff

The PGA Tour welcomed a host of talented rookies in 2019, but Wolff may just be the best of the bunch. A standout college player with an unorthodox swing that generates enormous power, he won last July's 3M Open in only his third professional start.

MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo

After Jorge Lorenzo, the only man to defeat Marc Marquez in a MotoGP world championship, retired, and with Valentino Rossi nearing the end of his career, fans are looking to the next generation. That group looks set to be led by Quartararo, who will ride a factory-spec Yamaha for 2020 after claiming six pole positions and seven podiums in a magnificent rookie season.

Golf: Nasa Hataoka

Already fifth in the women's world rankings, Hataoka has claimed three LPGA Tour titles in the past 18 months, after becoming the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour back in 2016.

Baseball: Vladimir Guerrero Jnr

Guerrero has a lot to live up to but has already shown enough to suggest he may follow his father into baseball's Hall of Fame. Having signed for the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in 2015, Guerrero served his time in the minors before making his debut in the Major Leagues last April. He spent the rest of his maiden season displaying the kind of power that has marked him out as a star of the future, hitting .272, mashing 15 home runs and knocking in 69 RBI. By the end of the next decade, his may well be the face of baseball.

Ice Hockey: Quinn Hughes

Hughes, who could not even debut for the Vancouver Canucks until he recovered from an ankle injury in March, is an elite defenseman who also sat top of the rookie assist chart in late December.

Swimming: Michael Andrew

This year is an Olympic one and for the first time since the 1996 Games, Michael Phelps will not be in the pool. The United States needs a new swimming hero, and the hope is that Phelps' namesake can be the next star. Andrew was the youngest US swimmer to ever turn professional when he did so at 14 and, having finished fourth in the 50 metres butterfly at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, he appears primed to be a breakout star in Tokyo.

Tennis: Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov finished 2019 at a career-high ATP ranking of 15th, having won his first title in Stockholm. Expect his threat at the 2020 majors to be very real.

Athletics: Sydney McLaughlin

At the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, gold in the 4x400 metres relay followed silver in the 400m hurdles for McLaughlin. Only a Dalilah Muhammad world record was enough to deny her the victory.

Boxing: Joseph Adorno

Currently plying his trade in the lightweight division, Adorno was brought up in Puerto Rico and his thunderous left hook has drawn comparisons to Miguel Cotto – the great four-weight world champion hailing from that boxing-mad island. Promoters Top Rank will look to step up Adorno's level of opposition in 2020, although anyone climbing into the corner opposite a young man boasting a 14-0 record with 12 knockouts should make sure they get well paid.

It was a decade full of skill, unforgettable moments and remarkable storylines.

Grand slam titles, Olympic Games gold medals, Rugby World Cups, Women's World Cups and more.

However, the impact and influence of some athletes proved more transcending than others.

We look at the most influential sports people of the past decade as we prepare to farewell the 2010s.

 

COLIN KAEPERNICK

Kaepernick has never swayed from his beliefs, even if it cost him a career in the NFL.

Following five years with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick hit the headlines when he kneeled during the United States national anthem in 2016.

The quarterback cited racial injustice and police brutality. He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. Kaepernick settled that grievance in February.

Despite some backlash, the 32-year-old inspired a nation – receiving support from Nike, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Megan Rapinoe and others. He even refused to meet the NFL's demands for a workout in November – all but ending his career. For Kaepernick, it has always been about more than American football…

SIYA KOLISI

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifted the Rugby World Cup in November. However, his influence stretches much further than a rugby pitch.

In a country embroiled in economic turmoil and racial unrest, Kolisi – the Springboks' first black captain in their 127-year history – is a beacon of hope.

Having come from an area marked by unemployment and lack of opportunity, Kolisi has become a household name and a genuine inspirational star, who can help unite a nation.

MEGAN RAPINOE

Outspoken on and off the field, Women's World Cup winner and United States star Rapinoe has transcended football.

From LGBT rights, gender equality and racial quality, Rapinoe has led the fights.

The 34-year-old has drawn the ire of US president Donald Trump, and even called out FIFA over the gulf in prize money for the women's and men's World Cups as she strives to make football and the world a better place, while maintaining her dominance on the pitch – winning the 2019 Ballon d'Or Feminin, last year's Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

ANDY MURRAY

A three-time grand slam champion and former world number one, Murray's lasting legacy may be his fight for gender equality – not just his on-court achievements.

Not one to keep quiet, just watch him play tennis, Murray has championed against sexism, especially after hiring Amelie Mauresmo as his coach in 2014. 

In 2015, Murray wrote: "Have I become a feminist? If being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then I suppose I have."

SIMONE BILES

This decade saw the emergence of a gymnastics sensation, yielding four Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 19 World Championships golds - 25 in total - over the past six years.

Biles is the most decorated artistic gymnast of all time at just 22 years of age, establishing herself as one of the best athletes in the world in the face of adversity.

The once-in-a-lifetime talent won five gold medals in Stuttgart, while dealing with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

In 2018, she claimed she was sexually abused by ex-Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Nassar, encouraging others to do the same. She continues to influence the sport in innumerable ways. 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

In a decade dominated by UFC and the emergence of mixed-martial arts, Joshua has stood tall for boxing. Flying the flag in the ring, the heavyweight champion consistently attracts crowds that have never been seen in British boxing.

A game-changer for the sport, Joshua has broadened boxing's appeal beyond traditional audiences. For his bout against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April 2017, a post-ward record crowd of 90,000 attended.

An estimated 80,000 spectators also took in his clash with Carlos Takam in Cardiff six months later. Joshua also took a title fight to Saudi Arabia in December - regaining his belts.

ALEX ZANARDI

Zanardi survived one of the most horrific non-fatal crashes in the history of open-wheel racing. The Italian lost both his legs in 2001, while he was also red his last rites.

However, Zanardi – who said he went 50 minutes with less than a litre of blood and his heart stopped beating seven times – was not done.

The former CART champion turned to paracycling and won two gold medals in his 2012 Paralympics debut, followed by another two in 2016.

CASTER SEMENYA

A two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and athletics star, it has been a tough end to the decade for Semenya but the South African inspired a nation in 2019.

She missed the World Athletics Championships in October after the IAAF proposed regulations regarding athletes with differences of sex development (DSD).

The new rule instructed athletes such as Semenya – who compete in events from the 400m to a mile, to take medication to lower their testosterone levels to take part in women's track events.

Despite lengthy legal battles and years of questions, Semenya continued to fight for her rights, leading to a Nike video in which she spoke about acceptance, self-love and respecting people for who they are. "I'm one kind of an athlete. I run my own race. It's all about me," said Semenya.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has confirmed it will appeal a four-year suspension handed to the country by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Earlier this month, WADA banned Russian teams and athletes from competing under the country's flag at global sporting events – including the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup – over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

RUSADA was given 21 days to appeal the suspension, and the organisation has now confirmed it will take its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Should the sanction stay in place, individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020.

Stanislav Cherchesov's side have qualified for the finals, where St Petersburg is one of the host cities.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had previously suggested the country would appeal the ban, suggesting the sanctions were "political".

Former Jamaican sprinter and triple-double Olympic gold medallist, Usain Bolt, said he was heartened to see the kind of support that turned out for the inauguration of the National Stadium in Tokyo ahead of the Olympic games to be held there and what it meant for the 2020 showpiece multi-sport event.

The awards keep rolling in for 2019 World 100-metre champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she is targeting dipping under 22 seconds for the 200m next season as she eyes the sprint double at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Coach of rising sprint sensation Jamaican sprinter, Briana Williams, Ato Boldon expects the young phenom to go even faster in 2020 after her preparations for this season put her in a good place.

Williams, who decided to run as a senior at last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics, made the Jamaican team after finishing third at the country’s national champions in a quick 10.94 seconds, behind legends, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson.

Despite the qualification, Williams was not at the World Championships after a positive drug test, which was eventually commuted with the athlete found to have done nothing wrong, meant there was no time for her to get there.

Last season, Williams also ran a nippy 22.88 seconds.

According to Boldon, Williams could have been faster last season and the season before, but for some reason, was not achieving her full potential.

“In 2019, only five women ran faster at 100m. I’ve considered the possibility that she had been holding back in practice in the last two years, training with a group. That’s clearly not the case this year, and she has set numerous personal bests in her preseason practice runs,” said Boldon.

The difference, this season, is that Williams has ditched her training routine, and is now doing her practice on her own.

“As far as her training, I had some major concerns when we started in October. She had no female training partners for the first time under me and she hadn’t competed since July,” said Boldon, who had split with Williams training partner Khalifa St Fort.

“I thought taking in someone to train with her would be a good idea. Well, it turns out I was wrong. She assured me she didn’t need a training partner. Her workouts have always accurately indicated to me what’s coming, and she will be better in 2020 than she was in 2019,” Boldon said.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was yesterday named the Best Female Athlete at the inaugural Panam Sports Awards in Fort Lauderdale.

The Jamaican sprint star was earning the award for her performances at the 2019 Pan American Games, while Brazillian gymnast Francisco Barretto was named the Best Male Athlete.

Fraser-Pryce, who was running in her first Pan American Games, broke the 200-metre games record, a mark that had stood for 40 years, when she clocked 22.43 seconds for gold.

Fraser-Pryce was beating American cyclist Chloe Dygert, Argentine swimmer, Delfina Pignatiello, Mexican racquetballer Paola Longoria, and Venezuelan triple jumper, Yulimar Rojas.

Barretto was beating Grenadian javelin thrower, Anderson Peters, Trinidad & Tobago cyclist Niholas Paul, Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo and Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez.

Yohan Blake believes he could have had a better career had it not been for Usain Bolt. Do you believe the statements surrounding the issue smack of envy?

Antigua & Barbuda Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, believes the YASCO Sports Complex, a facility that functioned in a state of disrepair and the only track and field facility on the island, will have it’s refurbishments complete in short order.

According to Matthew, the workers are preparing to carry out the final phase of work before the laying the new surface of the track.

“They have done all of the preparatory work in terms of the sub-base and everything, so the final layer is to start going on, and I am told it’s supposed to be about five or six day’s work, and it cures for, I think, two weeks and then the rubber goes down,” he said.

The YASCO facility has been the subject of embarrassment for the country on a number of occasions with promises for its upgrade going unfulfilled on a number of occasions.

Add the high-profile athletes Cejhae Greene and Miguel Francis, to a growing list who refuse to use the facilities and the news takes on even greater value for the island.

“We’re expecting someone here this week [from track builders Mondo] and so between myself and the president of the NOC [EP Chet Greene], I’ve sent off some correspondents to PASO and Mondo because we have to proceed. We don’t want to continue to delay the laying of that final layer of asphalt because there is a lifespan on things like the adhesive which we’ve had for a while,” he said. 

The news contrasts a previous announcement from president of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association, Everton Conelius, who said persistent rains were causing delays that could amount to another five months of delays.

Marvin Anderson was elected President of the Olympian Association of Jamaica (OAJ) during the association’s very first Annual General Meeting held on Friday, December 6, at the offices of the Sports Development Foundation on Phoenix Avenue, Kingston.

Guyanese Olympian Alian Pompey is the new president of the PanAm Sports Athlete Commission.

Jereem Richards, the 2017 200-metre bronze medallist said he plans to use the disappointments of his 2019 season to spur him onto success next season.

St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred said her fast 60m dash over the weekend came as a bit of a surprise but it augurs well for the season ahead in which she aims to be in Tokyo next summer representing her country at the 2020 Olympic Games.

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