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Legend Ali in hospital with case of pneumonia

BOXING: Muhammad Ali has been admitted to hospital with a mild case of pneumonia. The 72-year-old, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was taken to an undisclosed location on Saturday morning, but is expected to be released in a few days, say his representatives Boxcar.

"Ali is being treated by his team of doctors and is in stable condition," the statement read.

"He was admitted earlier this (Saturday) morning and because the pneumonia was caught early, his prognosis is good with a short hospital stay expected. "At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy."

Ali (pictured), considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time, retired from the sport in 1981 and has suffered with Parkinson's since the mid-1980s.

Webster ready to take on Taylor

dARTS: Dutch 21-year-old Benito van de Pas got off to a winning start at the PDC World Darts Championship as he defeated 25th seed Paul Nicholson 3-2 in an engrossing first round encounter, while Dean Winstanley got the better of Wayne Jones and Mark Webster set up a second round tie with Phil Taylor.

Van de Pas earned his place at Alexandra Palace after an impressive first season on the PDC Tour after winning his card in January, and he took full advantage by earning a huge win over the former quarter-finalist.

Webster earned a second round showdown with Phil Taylor with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over fellow left-hander Ron Meulenkamp.

"I'm up for playing Phil, for me he's still the best there is, but I won't be scared of him, I'm not trying to rub him up the wrong way or anything like that but I have beaten him before here, not many other people have," said Webster.

Dean Winstanley won a high-quality contest with Wayne Jones 3-2 to move into the second round. Winstanley hit seven 180s and averaged 93.66 while also hitting three ton-plus finishes but all that was only just enough to squeeze by Jones, who averaged even higher at 94 and had four 180s of his own. Kevin Painter overcame a minor scare from Russian qualifier Boris Koltsov to make it into the second round with a 3-1 victory.

McIlroy and Schmidt get gongs

awards: The winners of this year's RTÉ Sport Awards, in association with the Irish Sports Council, were announced last night.

After a stunning 2014 which included winning two golf Majors - the British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and the PGA Championship at Valhalla - as well as playing a leading role in Europe's Ryder Cup victory, world number one Rory McIlroy was named RTÉ Sport Sports Person of the Year for the second time.

Irish rugby coach Joe Schmidt (pictured) was named the winner of the RTÉ Sport Manager of the Year. Having started 2014 by guiding Ireland to 6 Nations glory, Schmidt saw his side go on to end the year unbeaten with wins over South Africa, Australia and Georgia and with a ranking of third in the world. As well as acknowledging this year's sporting achievements, the RTÉ Sport Awards also paid tribute to one of Ireland's greatest sporting legends. Recently retired Irish rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll was honoured with the RTÉ/Irish Sports Council Hall of Fame Award.

No chance of a Pietersen return

CRICKET: England chiefs have moved quickly to make it clear that Alastair Cook's dismissal as one-day captain has not opened the door for a return to international cricket for batsman Kevin Pietersen.

The South African-born maverick's undermining of Cook was one of the reasons Pietersen was cast aside by England in January after England's 5-0 defeat in the last Ashes series in Australia.

The swashbuckling stroke-maker has a much better relationship with middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan, who has replaced Cook as captain for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year. But England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton moved to quell any hopes of a comeback. "We parted company with Kevin in January because throughout the ECB management, from the dressing room up to the board, it was felt that it was the right decision to go in a slightly different direction," he said.

Clarke finishes 15th in Dubai Open

GOLF: Irishman Darren Clarke finished seven strokes behind eventual winner Arjun Atwal in joint 15th place after a final round of 72 in the Asian Tour's Dubai Open.

Clarke had played himself into contention with a highly impressive third round of 64 at the event at the Els Club in Dubai, but could only manage a level-par final round.