News of the political icon’s passing has prompted the world’s leading sports, from Tiger stars to pay their own tributes
The world of sport has been paying tribute to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, who has died at the age of 95.
And having inspired sportsmen and women in South Africa across the world, the former president has been the subject of warm tributes from all parts of the world.
Tiger Woods, the world’s No.1 ranked golfer, said meeting Mandela was “one of the most inspiring times I’ve ever had in my life”.
“I don’t think any of us probably here could have survived that and come out as humble and as dignified as he did. To lead an entire nation and to basically love the world when he came out, I think that’s a testament to his will and his spirit and who he was,” he added.
And former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali said: “His was a life filled with purpose and hope; hope for himself, his country and the world.
“He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically. He made us realize, we are our brother’s keeper and that our brothers come in all colors.”
The image of Mandela handing over the Webb Ellis trophy in Springbok rugby top and cap – as South Africa hosted and won the 1995 Rugby World Cup – is considered one of the most iconic in sporting history as he brought the country together.
Joost van der Westhuizen, who played in that final, wrote: “A sad day for our country. Rest in Peace Madiba. Condolences to his family and friends.”
Other South African sports stars paid tribute this morning. Golfer Ernie Els said: “It is a very sad day. A very sad day for South Africa and the world really. We have lost one of the iconic leaders of our time.
“You cannot say anything bad about the man. He fought for what he believed in, went to prison for so many years and came out to lead our country up until now.
“He was the father of our country and our continent. It’s just very sad that he had to go.
“He was 95 and led a full life but a lot of that wasn’t spent on what he was so good at because he was away for so many years.”
British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton posted an image on his Facebook page of him meeting Mandela with this message: “One of the most special moments in my life was meeting the great Madiba. One of the most inspirational human beings to have lived & without doubt the nicest man I ever met. I will miss you, we will miss you Madiba. God rest your soul, I love you like a son loves a father. Rest in Peace. Lewis & Family.”
And England and Australia’s cricketers, currently playing in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, held a minute’s silence and wore black arm bands during the second day’s play as a mark of respect
Source : Mirror