Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Beyond Sport!

Matiullah Haidar shows off his award next to Muhammad Ali and David Beckham.
Snoop Dogg changing his name to Snoop Lion won't be the only reason for people to remember July 24th. It will also be remembered as an iconic day for sport all around the world. An organisation named Beyond Sport brought sporting personalities and delegates from all around the world together in an attempt to find ways to improve the sporting opportunities available for young people. 

Just to quickly explain what Beyond Sport is and what they aim to do.. They are global organisation that promote, develop and support the use of sport to create social positive change all around the world.

It was a three-day event and I had the privilege to attend yesterday's part which was the award ceremony where a youngster that had gone 'beyond sport' and achieved something great was awarded with the Generation Ali Award. The winner of the award was Matiullah Haidar, a young refugee from Afghanistan who came to the country four years ago with no knowledge of English or any sport. He now teaches Cricket to young children that are from deprived or socially-isolated areas. To present the award to the young man was two huge sporting icons.. One is actually regarded by most as the greatest athlete of all time. These two men were David Beckham and of course Muhammad Ali. You could see the delight on Haidar's face when he won the award and got the opportunity to be in touching distance of two of the most famous athletes of all time.

However, amongst all of the cheers, delight and joy there was one thing that was playing on the back of most people's minds and was probably the main talking point when everybody left the function room to go the open bar afterwards... The poor and frail condition of Muhammad Ali.
Now, don't get me wrong... It was still a huge honour to even be in the same room as the 'greatest human being of all time', but it was very sad to see the once smart, young, handsome and witty man in the condition he is in now. He had to be shuffled by two of his carers on and off of the stage and when he was sat down on the chair in the centre of the stage there was just a vacant look on his face and I don't think he really knew where he was. This has lead me and a lot of other people to realise that now maybe he should just be left alone. After the London 2012 Olympics, I think we should all just let the 70-year old American live the remainder of his life in peace. That way we can remember him as the great and powerful man he once was when he was at the prime of his career and his life.

Overall, the Beyond Sport event was a huge success and I believe that sport really did benefit from the three-day event. Young people were given the opportunities to do something with their life and this will continue to happen in the future.

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