10 MAR 2001 General News

Portuguese President awarded the IAAF Golden Order of Merit

Portuguese President awarded the IAAF Golden Order of Merit

10 March 2001 - Lisbon, Portugal – The President of the Portuguese Republic, the Hon Jorge Sampaio, was today awarded the IAAF Golden Order of Merit.

The Order was presented to Mr Sampaio by IAAF President Lamine Diack during a ceremony at the Palacio de Belem in the Portuguese capital attended by the members of the IAAF Council.

Later in the afternoon, the Portuguese President attended the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which are taking place in the Atlantic Pavilion, Lisbon and was able to applaud the first Portuguese gold medal of the championships when Rui Silva won a closely contested 1500 metres race ahead of Spain's Reyes Estévez.

The Golden Order of Merit is the highest honour awarded by the IAAF and is normally awarded only to heads of state and other dignitaries who have made a major contribution to the advancement of the sport of athletics.

Hon Sampaio is a great fan of the sport and a practising athlete who will compete in the Lisbon half-marathon on 1 April.