International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has finally delivered the much awaited plaque recognising Iten as a World Athletics Heritage Landmark.
The plaque was sent to Athletics Kenya (AK) who in turn handed it over to Governor Alex Tolgos at a brief ceremony in his office in Iten. North Rift AK officials led by their Chairman Jackson Pkemoi led the officials as well as former athletes in the hand over.
Last year, the IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced Iten town in Kenya and Bekoji town in Ethiopia as recipients of the prestigious IAAF World Athletics Heritage Landmark Plaque at the IAAF/LOC Dinner on the eve of the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.
“The recipients we honour have each made an enormous impact in the historical development of the sport of athletics in their countries and beyond,” said Coe.
While receiving the plaque, Governor Tolgos said the recognition was a huge boost in efforts by the County Government to position Iten as a global athletics capital.
The Governor said the County had received Ksh 400 million support from the British Government to establish sports facilities and other economic initiatives in Iten that would attract more local and foreign sportsmen and investors keen on athletics and other sports.
“We have already developed a plan that we will be launching on December 3rd and among the facilities we intend to set up are a sports park and an elite sports hub,” he said.
Pkemoi congratulated the Governor for the plaque and said it had officially recognized Iten as athletic powerhouse not only in the country but internationally.
“When the plaque arrived from the IAAF headquarters, we decided not to open it but to give you (Governor) the honour of opening it officially,” he said.
Tolgos called on athletics stakeholders to continue working together to scale up athletics promotion in Iten and across the County saying the County Government has always supported the development of the sport.
“We shall even sit and plan a day to celebrate this plaque and we shall work together to build a monument that will display this plaque as a permanent landmark and recognition that Iten has received,” he said.
Present during the meeting were Sports CEC Anita Kimwatan, County Secretary Paul Chemmuttut, Chief Officer Edwin Seroney among other County officials.