World’s No. 1 golfer Donald and keeper James cited

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STARS from across the world of sport are among those being honoured this year as the nation counts down to the 2012 Olympic games.

Golfer Luke Donald, currently ranked world number one and competing in the US Open, becomes an MBE for his services to the sport.

Former Wales rugby player Shane Williams also receives the honour for his services to rugby along with former England goalkeeper David James for services to football and charity.

James, who played a record number of Premier League games, has set up his own charity foundation to help Malawian communities move towards food security.

Showjumper Nick Skelton, who retired after breaking his neck in 2000 but went on to recover and take part in competition again, receives an OBE for his services to equestrian sport.

The Queen has also made to Saracens and England rugby player Margaret Alphonsi and Alison Williamson, who will represent Great Britain in archery at her sixth Olympic Games this summer, MBEs.

Former professional footballer Paul Elliott is made a CBE. The former Chelsea, Aston Villa and Bari player, who was subjected to racist abuse from opposition fans during his playing career, has since been a champion of football’s anti-racism Kick it Out campaign.

Although racism has been confronted on the terraces and in dressing rooms Elliott believes “a glass ceiling” exists which is preventing more black managers from getting jobs in football clubs at the highest level of the game.

As Olympic fever begins to grip the nation, there are awards for those who have helped to turn the London 2012 games into a reality.

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre at the Olympics Park, and former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell are both becoming Dames for service in support of the Olympics.

The Baghdad-born designer said her family would be thrilled when they heard she had been made a Dame. She has won countless honours for her work and was awarded the Stirling Prize – the country’s top architecture award – for the last two years running.

And despite already being a CBE, she said she would still be nervous when she goes to the Palace to accept her latest honour.

She said: “I’ve met the Queen on several occasions, in Istanbul and here in London, but of course this is quite a different matter and I’m sure one will be nervous.”

Hadid studied at the American University of Beirut before moving to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

In 1980 she set up her architecture practice in the capital and her buildings now stand in cities from Abu Dhabi to Zaragoza.

Her recent work includes the Evelyn Grace Academy in south London, the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome and the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

She has spoken previously about her parent’s “unique” influence and their belief in education and said they would be pleased by the announcement.

She said: “I’m sure they would be thrilled. I know my brothers will be very excited when they hear the news.

“My father went to school in England in the 1930s, to the LSE, and everything he learned at the time is why I have always leaned towards the UK.

“London in 40 years has changed so much and it’s because people come to study here and love it.”

Honours have also gone to several members of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

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