The nominees for this prestigious award are, for the male title: Sergey Bubka (UKR), Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR), Frank Fredericks (NAM), Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), Michael Johnson (USA), Wilson Kipketer (DEN), Daniel Komen (KEN), Ivan Pedroso (CUB), Lars Riedel (GER) and Paul tergat (KEN). The female nominees are: Sally Barsosio (KEN), Nezha Bidouane (MAR), Sabine Braun (GER), Ludmila Engquist (SWE), Cathy freeman (AUS), Marion Jones (USA), Astrid Kumbernuss (GER), Merlene Ottey (JAM), Zhanna Pintusevich (UKR), Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB) and Gabriela Szabo (ROM).
Two other famous personalities will be guests of honour at the World Athletics Gala, which will take place in the presence of HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, Honorary President of the IAF, the tenor Andrea Bocelli and Carl Lewis. The American champion, who has decided to retire from competition at the age of 36, will be awarded the title of "Athletics Legend", a unique award in the history of athletics, just as the career of Carl Lewis has been unique: nine Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship golds.
Other events of interest, on Saturday and Sunday, will complete this special week-end for Athletics and the Principality. This year is the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldi dynasty in Monaco and to mark the event, the IAF has dedicated its traditional celebration to Monaco (World Athletics Celebrates Monaco). On Saturday evening, Katia Ricciarelli and Massimo Ranieri will give a concert in the Monte Carlo Opera before Prince Rainier of Monaco, who will also receive the IAAF "Golden Order of Merit".
On Sunday, over 2500 runners will compete in the 1st edition of the Monaco International Marathon. The Marathon, which will start at 9.30 am in front of the headquarters of the IAAF is truly international, for the course goes to Italy, crossing France, before returning to the Principality and the finish line in front of the Louis II stadium. Among the leading athletes participating, Ezekiel Bitok (KEN), Ahmed Salah (DJI), the Italians Calvarese and Crosio, Paul Arpin (FRA), Igor Konychev (RUS) and among the women, Irina Kazakova (FRA), Valentina Enaki (MOL), Luminita Moanga (ROM) and Maura Viceconte (ITA).
The Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (CMB) and the MONDO company are sponsoring the World Athletics Gala and Tele Monte Carlo will broadcast the week-ends events.
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