Thursday 22 November 2007
Monte-Carlo - With just three days to go to the announcement of the winners of the prestigious World Athlete of the Year and Performance of the Year awards at the World Athletics Gala, which will be hosted at the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club d’Eté, on Sunday 25 November, a long list of world class athletes from the past and the present are already on their way to the Principality to celebrate yet another great year of athletics.
The legendary Carl Lewis, winner of 9 Olympic gold medals in a career spanning two decades, will be among the star-studded audience who will be welcomed by International Athletic Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack.
Five-time World Cross Country champion John Ngugi, who was part of the successful organisation of the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, will be another notable guest on Sunday evening. The East African nation will also be represented by former World record holder Henry Rono, an icon of Kenyan Athletics.
Of the five Kenyan gold medallists in Osaka, 800m champions Janeth Jepkosgei and Alfred Kirwa Yego and Marathon winners Luke Kibet will also be part of Sunday’s celebration.
Other IAAF Ambassadors who will take part in this end-of-year party include the reigning double Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj, former World champions Stéphane Diagana and Frank Fredericks, and World record holder Mike Powell.
The evening is expected to be a celebration of world class sprinting highlighted by the presence of double Olympic champion Valeriy Borzov of the Ukraine who won the sprint double at the 1972 Games, the 1968 200m Olympic champion Tommie Smith and the 1968 400m Olympic champion Lee Evans, both of the USA. John Carlos and Robson Caetano da Silva, both Olympic medallists at 200m are also expected to attend the World Athletics Gala.
The High Jump will also be honoured with the presence of former World record holder and Olympic champion Dick Fosbury, and inaugural World champion Tamara Bykova. These great figures of the past will meet with reigning World champions Donald Thomas and Blanka Vlasic, the latter being a finalist for both the Athlete of the Year and Performance of the Year awards. Germany’s Heike Henkel, former World Indoor record holder and Kajsa Bergqvist, the woman who broke her record last year, will also attend the World Athletics Gala.
In total 18 World champions from Osaka, including World record holders Yelena Isinbayeva, Nathan Deakes and Roman Sebrle will gather in the Sporting Club on Sunday to make the 2007 World Athletics Gala a unique celebration of our sport.
2007 World champions expected to attend the World Athletics Gala:
Nathan Deakes (AUS)