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Nebiolo confers IAAF Golden Order of Merit on President of Polish Republic

Nebiolo confers IAAF Golden Order of Merit on President of Polish Republic -  Inaugural World Youth Championships start in Bydgoszcz tomorrow

15 July 1999 - Monte-Carlo, Monaco – On the occasion of the celebration of the inaugural edition of the IAAF World Youth Championships – taking place in Bydgoszcz from 16-18 July – the President of the Polish Republic, Aleksander Kwasniewski, today received the President of the IAAF, Dr Primo Nebiolo, at the Presidential Palace. The President of the Polish Athletic Federation and IOC member, Mrs Irena Szewinska, accompanied Dr Nebiolo.

Dr Nebiolo handed to President Kwasniewski the "IAAF Golden Order of Merit", a distinction reserved for Heads of State who, in the course of their public duties, have made a particular contribution to the promotion of athletics. In this particular instance, recalled Nebiolo, the award was especially significant and was intended to emphasise the important role played by Poland in the world athletics movement.

Polish athletes have written many passages in the history of our sport. From the days of Halina Konopaka and Stanislawska Walasiewicz to those of Elzbieta Krzesinska and the legendary Irena Kirszenstein-Szewinska; from Janusz Kusocinski to Zdzislaw Kryszkowiak, Jozef Schmidt, Janusz Sidlo, Bronislaw Malinowski, Tadeus Slusarski, Wladyslaw Komar, Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz and Jacek Wszola, to the present day, Poland’s champions have been exceptional.

This is another reason why the IAAF elected to launch this first edition of the World Youth Championships – for athletes under 18 years old - in Poland: a nation where the culture of sport in general and athletics in particular, is almost as deep-rooted as the sense of national identity.

In this same context should be placed the honour accorded by the Mayor of Bydgoszcz, Roman Jasiakiewicz, to President Nebiolo, who becomes the first foreign citizen to be awarded the honorary citizenship and the medal of honour of the city.

From tomorrow, until Sunday, Bydgoszcz will become the world capital of youth athletics, with 1081 youngsters (585 boys and 496 girls) from 134 countries participating in the competition.