Sports fraternity salutes Mandela
Sports Fraternity Salutes Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela No More, Tributes To Nelson Mandela. The demise of anti-apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela, has...
London: The demise of anti-apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela, has come as a shock to the sports fraternity across the globe. Several Associations, legends and celebrities saluted the symbol of peace and unity for his contributions, including enlivening sports with his personal interaction during his lifetime. His presence at key contests at which South African teams triumphed led to the concept of 'Madiba magic', a play on his clan name and the awe-inspiring effect he produced.
The Australia and England cricket teams paid tribute to Nelson Mandela at the second Ashes Test in Adelaide on Friday, wearing black armbands and observing a minute's silence. Both teams lined up in Mandela's honour ahead of the second day's play at Adelaide Oval as a photo of the anti-apartheid hero was shown on the ground's large video screen.
Recently retired Sachin Tendulkar paid heartfelt tribute to Mandela, saying the anti-apartheid icon was a "truly inspirational human being". "When I met Mr Mandela it was one of the most memorable days of my life. A truly inspirational human being....," wrote Tendulkar on his twitter account.
"He will live on in my heart forever. R.I.P," he further wrote. In Kentucky, Muhammad Ali paid tribute to Mandela as a symbol of forgiveness who inspired others to "reach for what appeared to be impossible," as the boxing great joined in mourning the death of the giant.
The icons who shared a boxing background met twice - once in South Africa and once in North America, said a spokeswoman for the Ali Center in Louisville, Ali's hometown, "What I will remember most about Mr Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge," Ali said in his statement released by the Ali Center. "He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale."
Among the exhibits at the Ali Center is a photo of Ali and Mandela, their hands clenched into fists as if they're boxing. "It's sad for everyone who got a chance to not only meet him, but I've been influenced by him," golfer Tiger Woods said. "I got a chance to meet him with my father back in 1998. He invited us to his home, and it was one of the inspiring times I've ever had in my life."
He once had golfer Ernie Els and Tiger Woods round for tea. "He treated us like we were his two sons," recalled Els. "His sincerity was amazing and it really left a mark on both of us." "A remarkable man who understood that sport could build bridges, break down walls, and reveal our common humanity," International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said, calling Mandela "a true statesman."
"The International Olympic Committee wanted Mandela in their ranks, he was an icon of the world and at the opening of the Barcelona Games they treated him like a head of state," recalled Sam Ramsamy, former South African Olympic Committee president and now an IOC member.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he and world football were in mourning at Mandela's passing and ordered that the 209 flags of the world body's member countries at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland be lowered and flown at half-staff. "It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela," Blatter said.
"The memories of his remarkable fight against oppression, his incredible charisma and his positive values will live on in us and with us." "Through his extraordinarily vision, he was able to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup as an instrument to help promote nation building just one year after South Africa's historic first democratic election," South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins said. "Mandela was one of the most powerful and inspirational leaders in the world and a great friend of the National Basketball Association," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.