IAAF President Sebastian Coe officially opened the 51st IAAF Congress at its opening ceremony at London’s Tate Modern on Tuesday evening, welcoming delegates from more than 200 of the IAAF’s 214 Member Federations.
The British capital is set to host the IAAF World Championships London 2017from 4-13 August, where 2038 athletes from more than 200 teams will be competing.
“These championships will be spectacular,” Coe said. “They have the highest qualification standards, the largest number of athletes competing and the greatest number of tickets sold. London will be the biggest IAAF World Championships ever.”
“I’m immensely proud and honoured that my country is hosting the most important event in the IAAF’s competition programme,” he added.
Ed Warner, co-chair of the IAAF World Championships London 2017 Local Organising Committee, delivered the opening remarks to the more than 700 guests assembled at one of London’s most iconic museums.
Highlighting the evening was the presentation of The IAAF’s Golden Order of Merit, the global governing body’s highest award, to Britain’s distance running great Brendan Foster for his major contributions to the advancement of athletics.
During his competitive career, Foster won the European 5000m title in 1974, the Commonwealth 10,000m title in 1978 and bronze over the longer distance at the 1976 Olympic Games. Since his retirement from the track in 1980, Foster has worked as a television commentator and founded the Great North Run, which has since become the largest running event in the UK and one of the biggest half marathons in the world.
The evening also included the presentation of the IAAF’s Plaque of Merit to six distinguished members of the global athletics family who have made enormous career long contributions to the success and the development of the sport. The recipients, listed in alphabetical order according to their Area Association:
There was also the traditional presentation of Veteran Pins to three recipients from each of the IAAF’s six Area Associations to recognise their lifelong contributions to athletics. The recipients, listed in alphabetical order according to their Area Association:
Bob Ramsak for the IAAFhttps://www.iaaf.org/news/iaaf-news/iaaf-congress-opening-ceremony-london