Vettel world Champion.jpg © Getty Images

With the news of 16-year-old Alexis Thompson's record breaking victory on the LPGA Tour hitting home, we take a look at a selection of other precocious sporting talents that entered the record books.

Lexi's five shot victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama, USA, at the weekend meant that she became the youngest golfer to win an LPGA event – beating the previous record held by then 18-year-old, Paula Creamer.

We've trawled through the history books and come up with our six of the best other young sporting champions.

Fu Mingxia

The Olympic gold medalist and world champion diver not only broke records, but her brilliance at an incredibly young age led to a change in the rules of her sport.

Fu was winning international titles at the age of just 11-years-old and she became the youngest ever world champion in any sport when she took the gold medal in the 10m platform at the 1991 World Swimming Championships in Perth, Australia aged 12. 

The following summer, Fu took gold at the Barcelona Olympics aged 13, which prompted diving's governing body to rule that all future divers must be at least 14-years-old by the year of the contest in the Olympics, World Championships or World Cup to enter.

She went on to win four Olympic golds and two world championship golds in total – the last of which in 2000 in Sydney came after a spell away from the sport studying economics.

Watch Fu's dives in her comeback victory in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney below:

Sebastian Vettel

At 23 years and 106 days old, Germany's Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever Formula One world champion when he took the 2010 F1 Drivers' Championship – beating rival Lewis Hamilton's record by 201 days.

But that's not the only age-related record owned by Vettel. He is also the youngest driver, at 19 years and 53 days, to race at a Grand Prix meeting, plus Vettel became the youngest driver to score world championship points when he came seventh at the 2007 US Grand Prix.

He was also the youngest driver ever to lead an F1 race, which he achieved for Toro Rosso also in 2007, at the Japanese Grand Prix, along with being youngest driver to have claimed a pole position and the youngest to have ever won a Formula One Grand Prix – both of which feats he recorded at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Mike Tyson

‘Iron Mike’ Tyson blitzed his way through the heavyweight boxing division to become the youngest world champion at the weight at the age of 20 years, 4 months and 22 days in 1986 when he bludgeoned Trevor Berbick to defeat to claim the WBC version of the heavyweight crown.

Tyson went on to unify a belt that had become fractured in previous years by taking the WBA and IBF crowns from James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith and Tony ‘TNT’ Tucker respectively in 1987.

Arguably the most feared heavyweight boxer ever to hold the world title, Tyson went on to defend his titles nine times with some of the most brutal and destructive punching witnessed in modern times before his well-documented problems began when he was stunned by huge underdog, James 'Buster' Douglas in Tokyo in 1990.

Ronnie O’Sullivan

‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan is the very epitome of a precocious sporting talent. Blessed with an incredible ability to pot snooker balls effortlessly with either hand, the young man was knocking in century breaks by the age of just 10-years-old.

A 15-year-old O’Sullivan became the youngest player to make a maximum break in tournament play, during the English Amateur Championship in March 1991 before going on to become the youngest ever winner of a ranking tournament, when he defeated Stephen Hendry 10-6 to win the UK Championship at 17 years 11 months.

Ronnie went on to win three world championship titles, 22 world ranking titles and holds the record of 11 maximum 147 breaks in tournament play.

A colourful and controversial character, O’Sullivan’s career has been blighted by brushes with authority, but he remains almost universally acclaimed as the most naturally gifted cueman of all time.

Martina Hingis

If it’s records you’re after, look no further than perhaps the archetypal record breaking junior sports champion – tennis star Martina Hingis.

Nicknamed the ‘Swiss Miss’ or the ‘Can’t Miss Swiss’, Hingis, who was named after tennis great, Martina Navratilova, first came to the attention of the tennis world when becoming the youngest ever winner of a Grand Slam junior title when she won the French Open juniors aged just 12.

Two years later she became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam match when she beat Jolene Watanabe-Giltz in the Australian Open aged 14 years.

Little over a year later, Hingis was the youngest player to win a Grand Slam title, when she won the Wimbledon Doubles with Helena Sukova, aged 15 years, 9 months, before she became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open aged 16 years 3 months in 1997.

That same year, Hingis became the youngest Wimbledon Singles titlist since Lottie Dod in 1887 when she defeated Jana Novotna in the final.

Jahangir Khan

Ask most people to name a famous squash player and the answer you’re likely to receive from around the world is Jahangir Khan.

In 1981, aged just 17, Khan won the first of his six World Open titles by defeating Australian, Geoff Hunt, who was the previous year’s world number one and four time World Open champion.

The win over Hunt led to a quite staggering unbeaten run of 555 matches for Khan that lasted for five years and is one of the most remarkable winning streaks in sport.

Equally as remarkably, Khan won the International Squash Players Association title in 1982 without losing a single point.

The Pakistan player won a record 10 British Open titles and his winning streak came to an end when defeated by New Zealand’s Ross Norman in the 1986 World Open final.


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