Stars come out to honour Ali

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Beckham_Ali REUTERS Soccer player David Beckham and boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the Beyond Sport Summit in London.

London – Stars of sport and screen gathered in London on Wednesday to honour legendary heavyweight boxer and Olympic champion Muhammad Ali as the countdown to the 2012 Games neared its finale.

The 70-year-old boxer attended the gala event at the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London which was hosted by Hollywood A-list couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Others guests at the UK-themed Sports For Peace dinner included Live Aid creator Bob Geldof, Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Rosario Dawson.

Ali's brother, Rahman, said the former champion was “very happy and proud to be here.

“He was a part of the 1960 team, and he's glad to be here.

“He won in 1960, and he thinks the US team are going to be the champs this year.”

Former tennis star Boris Becker said it was a “big honour and a privilege” to be in the presence of “the greatest living sportsman”.

“He presented his sport all over the world. From an athlete he became a peacemaker, he became a global warrior and just a spokesperson for the right causes,” he explained. “He has had just an incredible life.”

Former hurdler and 1988 Olympic silver medalist, Colin Jackson said: “It's absolutely wonderful to be here.

“Any time we can celebrate anything with a sporting icon, it's just fantastic.

Ali won gold at the Rome Olympics, but said in his autobiography that he threw the medal in the Ohio River after being denied a seat in an all-white restaurant.

He was re-awarded the medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where he lit the flame to start the event.

The identity of this year's flame carrier is shrouded in secrecy as final rehearsals for Friday's opening ceremony take place at the 80,000 seater Olympic Stadium in east London. – Sapa-AFP


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