Sports News of Friday, 10 June 2016
Source: Daily Guide
Late Muhammed Ali
When beggars die there are no comets seen, the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes (William Shakespeare).
Muhammad Ali, the iconic heavyweight champion who dazzled the whole world with his graceful movement, unmatched wit, and speed died on Friday.3rd March, 2016 at the age of 74 after long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
The whole world is mourning the loss of a legend. There had been several touching tributes from world leaders, sports and entertainment celebrities, clergy etc. eulogizing this larger- than- life legend; describing him superlatively with many attributes. The fact is this man transcended the ring and commanded respect from across race and colour, religion and creed.
It is a universal truth that what we have seen of Muhammad Ali’s blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength in the ring, may never be matched again in our time. I share these images of the Greatest Athlete of All Time.
He is the world’s most celebrated athlete; he ushered in the golden era of boxing and put the sport on the map. He paved the way for young boxers; elevating boxing to become a popular sport watched in millions of households around the world.
At the 1976 Montréal Olympic Games, the Golden Team USA’s Boxing Squad‘s excellent performance was influenced and inspired by no other person than Muhammad Ali. Following in his trail, the Sugar Ray Leonards, the Spinks brothers (Leon and Mike) etc., conquered all that they surveyed and went on to become world champions in their various weight divisions. In all Team USA bagged five gold medals in boxing.
A breed of well-refined Team USA including Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Meldrick Taylor, Pennell Whitaker, etc. won ten gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games; where Ghana was also represented by Taju Akay, Christian Kpakpo ,Ebo Dankwa,Amon Neequaye,Douglas Odame,Peter Ayensu etc.
As an official of Ghana’s contingent, led by the then Hon.Amarkai Amarteifio, then PNDC Secretary of Sports, including late Dr.Nkansa-Gyane, GOC President and late G.W.Amarteifio, GABA Chairman, with Mr. Armstrong Agbana as Coach, I had the opportunity to interact with Breland after he had won gold in the welterweight division.. From his response, the magic for their performance was the .influence and inspiration from Muhammad Ali.
On the local scene, connoisseurs of the sport can easily identify the influence of Muhammad Ali on our own sensational Azuma Nelson; his shuffling feet, speed and constant movement; mesmerizing his opponents with exquisite jabs; trademarks of Ali Muhammad Ali is truly the Greatest of them all.
May His Gentle Soul Rest in Perfect Peace