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I RAN THE WORLD

It was September 2015 and it was my birthday. I was 61 years old and when I looked in the mirror my dear old Dad looked back at me. I turned on the BBC news and something incredible happened. On the screen was a heart-breaking photograph of a dead three-year-old boy. His body had been washed up on a beach in Turkey. 

“Aylan Kurdi and his five-year-old brother, Galip, drowned after their overloaded boat capsized off of the coast of Turkey.” 

Aylan’s body had been discovered on one of Turkey’s beaches in the Bodrum Peninsula. Images of the ghastly find, photographed by Nilufer Demir from Turkey’s Dogan News Agency, had been shared on social media and on the front pages of newspapers around the world, particularly in the UK and Europe.

The image of a distressed Turki...

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Sir Bobby Charlton

Sir Bobby Charlton is not just England’s greatest ever footballer. He is the most compassionate, humble and generous man I’ve ever met and I had the enormous pleasure and honour of working with him.

In December 1985, I met Bobby for the first time at Birmingham Airport. He had paid for me to fly with him to Mexico City for the World Cup draw. I was trying to put together a project to help support the African famine victims of Sudan and Ethiopia at the time. It was called Sport Aid and Run the World. I was it’s founder and organiser. I was trying to get Sport stars and athletes to put on events for a whole week in May 1986 to inspire ordinary people to run 10k through their cities for Africa. 

“Come to the World Cup draw with me” said Bobby, “everyone in football will be there”...

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India Supporting the Starving in Africa

It was as unique as it was inspiring. An endeavour that for the first time used the message of sport to help a human cause; in this case, the children of famine-hit Africa.

Girdling the globe from Warsaw to Washington and Sydney to Singapore, thousands of running shoes echoed a message of hope and solidarity. Time came to a standstill all over, the world on May 25, 1986 as Sudanese runner Omar Khalifa handed the Torch of Hope – lit from a refugee camp fire at Khartoum and carried by him across 12 European cities – to the United Nations. Khalifa’s gesture was the starting gun that triggered off 10-km runs in 274 cities across the world, including 17 in India.

In New Delhi, at the same time that Khalifa’s torch reached its destination, Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, P.T...

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