It is with great pleasure that on International Women’s Day the IAAF confirms that prominent representatives of the Athletics, Ilse Bechthold (GER), the IAAF Women’s Committee Chairperson, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA) multiple World and Olympic champion have been awarded 2007 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sport Trophies respectively for the continents of Europe and the Americas.
In an afternoon ceremony today (8) held in the Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland in the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge, the opening remarks were given by Anita DeFrantz, IOC member and Chairwoman of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, with the Award ceremony itself introduced by IAAF Council Member Nawal El Moutawakel, who is an IOC Member and also a Member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission.
The 2007 winners were selected by the IOC Women and Sport Commission from 65 candidatures submitted by the National Olympic Committees and International Federations of Olympic sports.
The IOC’s 2007 World “Women and Sport” Trophy went to the first female Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who was honoured for her outstanding dedication to promoting the participation of women in Jamaican sport, both as athletes and as administrators.
As well as the World Trophy, five continental trophies were presented to women who have made outstanding contributions to strengthen the participation of women and girls in the sports world. The winners are as follows:
Trophy for Africa: Fridah Bilha Shiroya (Kenya)
Trophy for the Americas: Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
Trophy for Asia: Naila Shatara-Kharroub (Palestine)
Trophy for Europe: Ilse Bechthold (Germany)
Trophy for Oceania: Veitu Apana Diro (Papua New Guinea)
Ilse Bechthold, a member of the IAAF’s Women’s Committee since 1972 and its Chairperson since 1981, and member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, has dedicated her life to opening the door for women in Athletics.
“I am pleased to accept this Trophy on behalf of the many known and unknown collaborators in my life at all levels in sport because only together can we make it,” said Bechthold in her acceptance speech. “I enjoyed what I did during my life to help girls…assisting their development…and their socialisation through sport.”
In 1998 Bechthold initiated the “Year of Women in Athletics” within the IAAF, as well as several worldwide clinics and courses. Having been successful in the Discus Throw, Shot Put and Pentathlon herself, her passion for sport has also influenced her professional life. She has taught physical education to thousands of future teachers at the University of Frankfurt and served as a spokesperson for female students. She received the IAAF Veterans Pin in 1984 and the IAAF Plaque of Merit in 2003.
Four-time World Champion and three-time Olympic gold medallist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, was the winner of the trophy for the Americas. With the creation of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Foundation in 1988, she has helped young people to prepare for their role in society – driven by guiding principles such as character and leadership, teamwork and dignity. The Foundation raised USD 12 million to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in her hometown East St. Louis, Illinois, which offers more than 30 programmes in education, culture, arts, sports and fitness, health and life skills for young people aged 6 to 18 with a major focus on young girls.
Joyner-Kersee won the Heptathlon at the World Championships in 1987 and 1993, and the individual Long Jump in 1987 and 1991, while at the Olympic Games in 1988 she matched her global double of the previous year with the Heptathlon and Long Jump titles and four years later defended her Heptathlon crown and came third in the Long Jump. In total she amassed six-Olympic and four World Championships medals.
On accepting her award today Joyner-Kersee remarked: “I stand here alone but could not have got here without so many people’s help in particular the assistance of my husband and coach Bobby…It is important to embrace sports as it teaches us the necessary discipline and dedication…” required for life in general.
Palestinian Naila Shatara-Kharroub, the choice as recipient for the trophy for Asia, who has been a pioneer in establishing and developing physical education for girls in her country since 1979, also has very strong links with Athletics, and is a member of the Palestine Athletics Federation.
4th World Conference on Women and Sport
Also present at the ceremony was HRH Prince Faisal bin Al-Hussein, President of the Jordanian National Olympic Committee. On this occasion, IOC President Jacques Rogge announced that the 4th World Conference on Women and Sport will take place in March 2008 in Jordan.