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Timothy David Noakes (1949 – )

The Order of Mapungubwe in

Timothy David Noakes (1949 – ) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the field of sport and the science of physical exercise.
Profile of Timothy David Noakes

Prof Tim Noakes was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and he matriculated from Diocesan College in Cape Town in 1966. He was awarded an American Field Service Student Exchange Scholarship to Los Angeles, California, in 1967. He studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he obtained an MBChB degree in 1974, an MD in 1981 and a DSc (Med) in Exercise Science in 2002.

He began his research and teaching in the exercise sciences in a small laboratory in the basement of the Department of Physio-logy at UCT in 1981. Prof Noakes forged ahead with enthusiasm and initiative with one laboratory assistant and a single bicycle. In 1983, he was selected as one of the Jaycees Four Outstanding Young South Africans. By 1989, the research had grown to such an extent that the Medical Research Council (MRC) and UCT agreed to fund a UCT/MRC Bioenergetics of Exercise Research Unit under his direction. Noakes’ skills, knowledge and writings as a sports scientist have contributed immensely to the sports community. With his expertise he has served on numerous boards and commissions.

He is the co-founder with iconic rugby legend, Morné du Plessis, of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and serves as a director of the institute. The focus of the institute is to use science to enhance the health and sporting performances of all South Africans.

He served on the Ministerial Commission into High Performance Sport in South Africa in 2001 and is a member of the Organising Committee Medical Advisory Board for the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM. Between 2004 and 2007, Noakes served as the medical consultant for the national team that won the 2007 Rugby World Cup. His guidance contributed to the optimum physical and mental preparation of the team.

Noakes is a founding member of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Science Academy and he served on the selection panel for the International Olympic Committee Science Prize between 1995 and 2002. In 1992, Noakes was elected a Fellow of UCT for sustained excellence in original scientific work. He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and in 1996, he presented the prestigious JB Wolfe Memorial Lecture at the annual conference of that organisation. He was the first African and one of a few non-Americans to be so honoured.

Noakes also extends his knowledge to the wider community through an extensive body of writings. In 2003, he was awarded the UCT Book Award for the fourth edition of Lore of Running, which is considered the “bible of the sport”. Among his other published works are Running your Best, Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them, Lore of Cycling, Rugby without Risk and more recently with the late Bob Woolmer, Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket. The latter has already been rated an “instant classic”. He has published more than 400 scientific publications in many of the world’s leading scientific publications. He serves on the editorial boards of 13 international and local scientific publications.

Noakes has been honoured and awarded many accolades for his work. In 2004, the influential North American publication Runner’s World included Noakes’ as one of the 40 most important “persons or events” in the sport of running in the past 40 years. In 2004, Noakes received an A1 rating from the National Research Foundation of South Africa. In 2006, he was selected as the Best Man in Science and Technology by Men’s Health magazine. In the same year, he received the National Science and Technology Foundation Award for Individual Contribution over a Lifetime. In 2008, he was elected an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (United Kingdom), the first foreigner to be so recognised.

Prof Tim Noakes continues to make a remarkable contribution to the advancement of our sportsmen and women.