Zambian soccer player Barbra Banda makes Olympic history with consecutive hat tricks

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Zambia's Barbra Banda made history by becoming the first female soccer player to ever score back-to-back hat tricks at the Olympics in her team's 4-4 draw with China on Saturday. (@FIFAWWC/Twitter - image credit)
Zambia's Barbra Banda made history by becoming the first female soccer player to ever score back-to-back hat tricks at the Olympics in her team's 4-4 draw with China on Saturday. (@FIFAWWC/Twitter - image credit)

While the Tokyo Olympics only officially began on Friday, it's safe to say one of the breakout stars has already emerged.

Zambian soccer player Barbra Banda made history by becoming the first female player to ever score back-to-back hat tricks at the Olympics in her team's 4-4 draw with China on Saturday.

Banda's six total goals also tied Canadian Christine Sinclair's record for most goals in a single women's Olympic soccer tournament, a mark set at the 2012 London Games.

Despite Zambia falling short of claiming its first win, Banda stole the show in her team's first two group stage matches against the Netherlands and China while also achieving other major milestones.

The 21-year-old striker and team captain became the first African in Olympic history to score a hat trick, and she now holds the women's record for most Olympic goals by an African.

Banda is currently tied for the tournament scoring lead alongside Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands, and her opening goal against the Dutch signified a major moment for the Zambian team making its Olympic debut.

Thanks to Banda, the team has already broken the record for most Olympic goals by an African team in a single competition.

Zambia bounced back against China after suffering a historic 10-3 loss to the Netherlands, keeping hopes alive heading into its final group game against Brazil on Tuesday.

Banda first represented her country at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup before going on to play at the professional level with Spanish club EdF Logroño and Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shengli.

WATCH l CBC Sports' The Olympians feature on women's soccer:

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