Washington: The US city of Louisville in Kentucky state is set to rename its airport after hometown hero and boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died in 2016. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said on Wednesday that Ali had inspired billions of people around the world with his boxing accolades as well as his openness about his conversion to the Muslim faith, according to the Courier-Journal.
The announcement came just a day before Ali would have turned 77. Officials said they hope to finish the process of renaming the Louisville International Airport to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport by June, when the city hosts its "I Am Ali" festival in the boxer`s honour.
"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," Fischer was quoted as saying by the Hill newspaper. "Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people.
"It is important that we, as a city, further champion the champ`s legacy... and the airport renaming is a wonderful next step," Fischer added. Airport officials were currently working on receiving approval from Ali`s family for use of his name, but say an agreement was near.
"I think we are 99 per cent there with that agreement, so that would really be the second step which we think we can execute in the next week or two," said Dan Mann, Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority.