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Daba Modibo Keïta (born 5 April 1981) is a Malian taekwondo athlete. Keïta has competed in international competitions since 1996, and in 2007 became the heavyweight (+84 kg) division 2007 World Taekwondo Champion in Beijing, and competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics in the +80 kg class.

Daba Modibo Keïta
Daba Modibo Keïta poster bamako market april 2008.jpg
A poster in a Bamako shop celebrating his 2007 victory
Medal record
Men's taekwondo
Representing  Mali
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 Beijing Heavyweight
Gold medal – first place 2009 Copenhagen Heavyweight
West African Championship
Gold medal – first place 1996 Abidjan Heavyweight
Gold medal – first place 1996 Bamako Heavyweight
Bronze medal – third place 1998 Accra Heavyweight
African Championship
Gold medal – first place 2005 Madagascar Heavyweight

Personal lifeEdit

Keïta was born in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) to Malian parents, and was named for the first President of Mali, Modibo Keita. He was forced to flee the country with his family in 2000 during the wave of xenophobia which preceded the Ivorian Civil War. Settling in Mali, Keïta had little funding for training, but received an IOC Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to pay for his training with Ivorian fighter Patrice Remarck in the United States.[1] With coach Jorge F. Ramos, finances forced Keïta to stay with friends in Beijing during the 2007 world championship and train in a hotel courtyard. Keïta is managed by his older brother, Badra, and has lived and trained in France and the United States. Two of his brothers and two of his five sisters practice taekwondo, with his sisters both blue belts.[2]

2007 world championEdit

Despite tearing a back muscle before the match, Keïta won the gold medal for the Heavyweight (84 kg) division 2007 World Taekwondo Champion in Beijing by beating Iranian Morteza Rostami 3 to -1 in the final. He is the first Sub-Saharan African to hold the title of Taekwondo World Champion, and has become a national hero in Mali.[3][4] Keita himself has reflected that “Winning the world title was almost unthinkable for an African, or someone from a developing nation.” [2]

Keïta has become a national figure, making public appearances and meeting several times with the President Amadou Toumani Touré, who personally saw Keïta off to the Olympics.[5] In part through Keïta's success, Taekwondo has exploded in popularity in the nation. In 2008 the Mali boasted over 150 clubs federated to the Fédération malienne de taekwondo (FEMAT)[6] and 500 black belts among the almost 15,000 Malians who practise the sport.[2]

2008 Olympic gamesEdit

He represented Mali at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and was favoured before the games to win the first Olympic Gold Medal for Mali in history.[7][8] He was quoted in August saying "For any athlete the Olympic Games are a dream... ...Africa really needs this medal."[9]

Keïta was flag bearer for his nation at the opening ceremony, and competed in the 80 + kg Olympic division, beginning 23 August 2008. In the first round, Keïta defeated Mickael Justin Borot 6-5 to advance to the quarterfinals[10] but was knocked out by eventual bronze medalist Nigerian Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije 3 - 2 in extra time.[11]

Much expectation had been placed on the world champion in Mali, which had never won any Olympic medal. After Keïta's loss, the president of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, was quoted in the state run paper l'Essor, saying that this was "A painful day for Mali".[12] The paper announced the loss as "an immense disappointment for the nation."[12]

2012 Olympic gamesEdit

Keïta made it to the bronze medal match. He was forced to withdraw due to injury from the scheduled match with Cuba's Robelis Despaigne allowing Despaigne to win the bronze medal due to walkover.


  • 1996 : Gold Medal at the West African Championship in Abidjan
  • 1997 : Gold Medal at the West African Championship in Bamako
  • 1999 : Bronze Medal at the West African Championship in Accra
  • 2002, 2004 : champion of Mali
  • 2004 : Gold Medal at the Paris Open Championship, in the Open international Open Championship of Nantes and in the Open Championship of Picardie
  • 2005 : Gold Medal at the Paris Open Championship
  • 2005 : Sportsmanship trophy in the 17th World Taekwondo Championships in Madrid
  • 2005 : Gold Medal at the African Championship Madagascar
  • 2005 : Gold Medal at the Coupe du monde francophone in Niamey (Niger).
  • 2007 : Gold Medal at the 18th World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing (84 kg)[4] as well as the trophy for MVP (Samsung Blue Passion Award).
  • 2009 : Gold Medal at the 19th World Taekwondo Championships in Copenhagen. (84kg)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Daba Modibo Keita, Remark Sport Taekwondo
  2. ^ a b c Keita looks to kick-start Mali’s Olympic dream. International Olympic Committee, 29 May 2008.
  3. ^ Mali's Keita wins sub-Arab Africa first world taekwondo title, World Taekwondo Federation, 14 Jun 2007
  4. ^ a b Taekwondo, Championnat du monde : Daba Modibo Keïta entre dans l'histoire, L’Essor du 22 mai 2007
  5. ^ J.O de Pékin : Daba Modibo Keïta en route vers la gloire Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. L'Essor 28 July 2008
  6. ^ J.O. Pékin 2008 : Taekwondo : Daba Modibo Kéita mérite d’être soutenu. Le Républicain, 27 June 2008
  7. ^ [Taekwondo Day 4 Preview: Heavyweight battles start], The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, 2008-08-23
  8. ^ Daba Modibo Kéita, espoir de médaille pour le Mali aux JO-2008, PANA Press, Bamako - 22 August 2008.
  9. ^ Taekwondo spreads its wings (China Daily) 2008-08-07.
  10. ^ Contest Results, Men +80kg Preliminary Round of 16, USTB Gymnasium / Sat Aug 23 2008 / Contest No.124.
  11. ^ The official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. "Taekwondo Men +80kg Contest Results". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008.
  12. ^ a b J.O. de Pékin, taekwondo : pas de "grade" olympique pour Daba Modibo Keïta, S. B. TOUNKARA, L'Essor, 25 August 2008
  13. ^ Bruno Loma, Taekwondo : Daba Modibo Kéita mérite d’être soutenu, Le Républicain (Mali), 27 juin 2008
  • Portions of this article were translated from the French language Wikipedia article .

External linksEdit