Iten town has been awarded the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Heritage Plaque in Yokohama, Japan.
Iten was feted for outstanding ‘Landmark’ contribution to the worldwide history and development of track & field and of out-of-stadia athletics.
The IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced Iten town as among 11 locations worldwide for the IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque at the IAAF / LOC Dinner on the eve of the IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019.
“The eleven recipients we honour tonight have each made an enormous impact in the historical development of the sport of athletics in their countries and beyond,” said Sebastian Coe.
“While nine of the locations announced were in the category of ‘Competition’, for the first time Coe announced recipients in the category of ‘Landmark’.
Two famous centres of distance running in Africa were honoured. These were the Ethiopian town of Bekoji, ‘Town of Runners’, and Iten in Kenya, the ‘Home of Champions’,” said a statement on IAAF website.
The plaque is a location-based recognition which highlights, celebrates and links together iconic and historic athletics careers, cities, competitions, culture, landmarks, performances and venues around the world.
A uniquely designed plaque will be permanently and publicly displayed at a location closely associated with each recipient. The plaque is awarded for an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track & field and of out-of-stadia athletics.
Governor Alex Tolgos expressed gratitude to IAAF for the honour and dedicated it to hundreds of athletes who have chosen Iten and its environs as an ideal place to train for local and international championships.
He added that it had come at a time the County together with the World Bank was upgrading Iten town to match its status as the World’s Athletics Capital.
“This recognition now gives us bragging and branding rights to aptly call Iten the World’s Athletics Capital. We are extremely overjoyed. This honour is dedicated to all athletes who have chosen Iten over the years as a destination to stay and train,” said Tolgos.
Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich said the County will use the opportunity to market Iten to more foreign athletics and called on locals to invest in sports facilities such as training camps.
“Iten is now ripe for investment in the hospitality sector such as sports camps or hotels because this town will attract even more people of different nationalities,” he said.