From Imran Khan to George Weah - seven sports stars who became politicians

Imran Khan
Imran Khan started his political career in the late 1990s

On Thursday, former cricket star Imran Khan won the general election in Pakistan - but he isn't the first sports star to take up a career in politics.

Khan, 65, switched careers in 1996 following an illustrious 16-year career in cricket, in which he captained his country to the World Cup, but it took a further two decades for him to become a serious contender for power.

His new job title got us thinking about the other stars of the sporting world who made the transition. Here's who took the plunge...

George Weah - from PSG to president

George Weah
From Ballon d'Or winner to president of Liberia, George Weah has enjoyed a successful transition into the world of politics

George Weah's football career saw him play for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City. Arsene Wenger first brought him to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988.

Widely thought of as one of the greatest African players of all time, he won Serie A and Ligue One titles, and also claimed the Ballon d'Or and World Player of the Year trophies - becoming the first African player to win them.

And he will always be remembered for that goal against Verona for Milan, which started in his own penalty area and saw him dribble past almost an entire team.

He moved into politics following his retirement from football in 2003, and last year he was elected as Liberia's president with more than 60% of the vote.

Manny Pacquiao - the senator

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao's impressive career in the ring isn't the only thing he's famous for - he's also the current senator of the Philippines

The 'Pac-Man' had a successful boxing career, being the only eight-division world champion in history, having won 11 major world titles.

As a national hero in the Philippines, he has flirted with careers in basketball, music and acting - but now finds himself as a boxer-come-senator.

In June 2016, Pacquiao was elected as a senator and is serving a six-year term until 2022.

Vitali Klitschko - the mayor of Kiev

Vitali Klitschko
The Mayor of Kiev was once one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in boxing

Wladimir's older brother's record in the ring was formidable, winning 45 of his 47 professional fights - including 41 by knockout.

The 47-year-old made a name for himself as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in boxing, before turning his talents to the world of politics in 2006, when he came second in the Kiev mayoral race.

Eventually, he was elected a mayor of Kiev in May 2014, before being re-elected in November 2015.

Kirstie Marshall - skier, gymnast, politician, mother

Kirstie Marshall
Kirstie Marshall is a member of Australia's sporting hall of fame

Gymnast. Skier. Board member. Politician. Kirstie Marshall has done it all.

The Australian won more than 40 World Cup medals, including 17 golds, in aerial skiing and represented her country at the Olympics.

After retiring from the sport, she was appointed as a board member for the Australian Winter Olympic institute, before becoming a Labour MP in December 2002.

She hit the headlines a few months later when she was ejected from the chamber for breastfeeding her 11-day-old baby.

Romario - the bad boy turned governor

Romario
Romario is the fourth-highest goalscorer for Brazil

Romario is considered one of the greatest footballers of his generation.

He lifted the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and was named player of the tournament and World Player of the Year.

He scored 1,000 goals over his 20-year career, won titles with PSV Eindhoven and played under the legendary Johan Cruyff at Barcelona. He was also known for his bad-boy reputation.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Romario, now 52, is a politician in his home country who in March announced he would run for governor of Rio in the Brazilian general election in October.

He said he was inspired to become involved in politics after his daughter, Ivy, was born with Down's Syndrome, and he is now an active campaigner for children with disabilities.

Ryoko Tani - from judo to Japanese parliament

Ryoko Tani
Tani was the first female judoka in history to compete at five Olympic games

When the International Judo Federation names you as the "best female judoka ever", you know you've had a pretty good career.

At only 4ft 9ins, Tani competed in the extra lightweight class and won a record seven world titles and five Olympic medals including two golds.

She retired in 2010 having been defeated only five times during her 20-year career.

In 2010, she was elected to the House of Councillors, the upper house of the Japanese parliament.

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