LONDON – Malala Yousafzai , the Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban, is the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Peace Prize Friday, but bookmakers in Britain have also posted odds for singer Bono, Wiki-leaker Bradley Manning and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Malala is the very obvious choice. Most people are getting in behind her,” said Féilim Mac An Iomaire, media manager for bookmakers Paddy Power.
The teenager was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating for educating girls. She survived the wound and has become a high profile activist and just published a book “I Am Malala.”
Paddy Power currently have the girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley as 8/15 favorite. According to Paddy Power they have taken just under £7,000 (roughly $11,160) on Nobel Prize bets with 90 percent of those put on Malala.
While Malala, 16, is strongly tipped to win the Nobel Prize, Mac An Iomaire said that Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, has risen to odds of 6/5. “He’s been the dark horse I suppose and is very much in contention.”
Mukwege is the medical director at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province. Since opening its doors in 1998, Panzi Hospital has treated many victims of sexual violence as women are frequently targeted in the region’s fighting.
Mac An Iomaire warns that there are no guarantees when it comes to picking a winner because the committee that chooses the winner is very secretive. The largest upset in recent times was President Obama when he won in 2009. Paddy Power had him down as 33/1 but, “Obama shocked us all,” Mac An Iomaire said.
Tilman Brueck, head of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, believes the prize shouldn’t go to favorite Malala. Brueck told Norwegian news agency NTB that, “I’m not sure it would be suitable, from an ethical point of view, to give the peace prize to a child.”
There are over 250 contenders this year for the Nobel Prize and among them are U2′s front man Bono (100/1), Bradley Manning (25/1) and Putin. The Russian president was nominated after he initiated a deal with Obama to strip Syria of its chemical weapons and forestall a U.S. attack on Syria.
Putin’s chances of winning the prize at set at 66/1. “He’s not exactly getting good publicity. I wouldn’t put money on it,” Mac An Iomaire said.