China pays rich tributes to Muhammad Ali

first_imgFrom K J M VarmaBeijing, Jun 4 (PTI) Chinas sporting fraternity today paid rich tributes to Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing legend and civil rights champion who passed away in the United States after a 32-year battle with Parkinsons disease.Ali, the worlds most-loved and known sporting hero, visited China in 1979 and then again in 1985. He was greeted with unbound love wherever he went.During his 1979 China visit, Ali was greeted by then Chinese vice-premier Deng Xiaoping, who said to him: “You have deep feelings toward China. Very welcome to China and have a look around.””Boxing can also be a bridge which enhances mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and American people,” Deng had said.Alis motto – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – is well-known in China and he was hailed as a beacon to Chinese youth chasing their sporting dreams.”He is an icon and a great man,” said Chinas first-ever WBC champion Xiong Chaozhong. “He taught us how to fight, how to overcome hardships.”Xiong recalled a meeting with Alis wife, Lonnie.”Alis wife came to see me in a press conference after I won the WBC title on November 24, 2012, telling me that Mr Ali wanted me to be his student because he had promised Deng Xiaoping that he would teach Chinas first professional champion if there would be one,” Xiong told state-run Xinhua news agency.Chinas two-time Olympic champion boxer Zou Shiming tearfully mourned the passing of Ali, vowing to win a professional title to honour the legendary boxer.advertisement”I planned to go visit my idol Mr Muhammad Ali after winning a professional bout. But now, I can only pray he is at peace in heaven, and free from illness and pain,” the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion posted on his Weibo account.In a tearful interview, Zou said: “I am deeply grieving over the passing of the legend Mr Ali, for whom I have great respect. He has been a great inspiration to me.”Chinese boxer Yang Lianhui hailed Ali as one of the most transformative persons in history.”Both Chinese boxing and world boxing benefitted from Muhammad Alis talents,” said Yang.”He was influential both in and out of sports. He fought against injustice and sacrificed prime years of his own career in the process.” PTI KJV ABH AKJ ABHlast_img read more