07 AUG 2013 General News Moscow, Russia

Russia welcomes the world at IAAF Congress Opening Ceremony

The IAAF Congress Opening Dinner at Moscow's Gostiny Dvor (Getty Images)The IAAF Congress Opening Dinner at Moscow's Gostiny Dvor (Getty Images) © Copyright

The IAAF Dinner, held on the eve of the IAAF Congress ahead of the 2013 IAAF World Championships, was held on Tuesday (6) at Moscow’s Gostiny Dvor.

Located just 150 metres from the Kremlin, the grand structure was built by famed architect Giacomo Quarenghi more than 200 years ago. Surrounded by columns and classic arcs, the granite-paved courtyard houses the largest single-span glass roof in Europe, covering an area of 120,000 square metres.

So what better setting to welcome the guests of the IAAF World Championships, where more than 200 countries will be represented.

The dinner was hosted by IAAF President Lamine Diack, and he presented an IAAF Plaque of Merit to recipients from each of the six IAAF Area Federations. They included Isaiah Kiplagat, president of Athletics Kenya and IAAF Council member; Du Zhaocai, vice president and general secretary of the Chinese Athletics Association and IAAF Council member; Janez Aljancic, past president of the Athletics Federation of Slovenia; Esther Maynard, immediate past president of the Athletics Association of Barbados; Rod Syme, former ITO from New Zealand; and Argentina’s Eduardo Bernal, past vice president of Consudatle.

Before the presentations, Diack gave a speech where he outlined some key developments within the IAAF.

“The central administration of the IAAF is currently being restructured as part of a strategic plan which follows the Athletics World Plan that came to end in 2012,” he said. “The strategic plan focuses on planning and identifying how we manage our work.

“Concerning innovative projects, it is important that I mention the IAAF World Athletics Forum, which provides our Member Federations with a platform to debate and exchange, generate new ideas, ensure better administration and its suitability to the modern world.

“Our desire to widen our sport’s grassroots by an increased presence in schools and among young people is already proving productive and raises our hopes to the highest level.”

Popular Russian sports presenter Dmitry Guberniev was the MC for the evening and more than 800 guests were in attendance. They were treated to a cultural programme, which featured a ballet performance from Don Quixote by dancers of the Bolshoy Theatre, including prima ballerina Maria Aldash. Choir Bravissimo peformed a potpourri of popular classical music, followed by dances from Moscow Music Hall and an acrobatic display by Kirill and Danila Kalutsky.

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