His Serene Highness Rainier, Prince of Monaco, is to receive the IAAF's highest decoration: The Golden Order of Merit.
The order which is normally awarded only to heads of state - among the prestigious role of previous recipients have been Nelson Mandela, the King of Sweden, the King of Spain, the President of Indonesia and the President of Germany - will be presented on Saturday evening, in the Salle Garnier of Monte Carlo, during the concert of Katia Ricciarelli and Massimo Ranieri.
The concert is one of the events following the XII World Athletics Gala, which takes place on Friday in the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting d'Eté. The concert will certainly be an important artistic moment: for the first time, the famous soprano and the singer-actor will perform together in a programme of Neapolitan songs.
The first International Marathon of Monaco will take place on Sunday, going through three countries: the Principality, France and Italy. Great champions like Ezekiele Bitok (KEN), Ahmed Salah (DJI), Italians Crosio and Calvarese, Igor Konychev (RUS), Paul Arpin (FRA) will participate. And, in the women's race, Irina Kazakova (FRA), Valentina Enaki (MOL), Luminita Moanga (ROM), Maura Viceconte (ITA).
The marathon will end a special week-end that the world of athletics has dedicated to the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldi Dynasty in Monaco. All three events will be broadcast world-wide by Tele Monte Carlo.
Yesterday, in conjunction with the celebrations for the National Day of the Principality, the President of the IAAF, Dr Primo Nebiolo, was decorated by HSH Prince Rainier with the prestigious title of Commander of the Order of St Charles.