SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, Nov 7 – National Olympic Committee of Kenya president Paul Tergat received an Honorary Achilles Prize from the International Athletics Film Festival (FICA) in the Spanish city of San Sebastian yesterday.
The five-time World Cross Country champion as well as former 10,000m and marathon world record holder was a popular figure in this part of Spain during his competitive career.
The reception he received when he came on stage at the Teatro Principal showed that his stature had not dimmed with the local athletics fans.
Now 50, and a member of the International Olympic Committee, the Kenyan distance running icon received a Honorary Achilles Prize from the organisers, following in the footsteps of Bob Beamon 12 months ago in relation to his international appeal, for his contribution to the sport.
“It’s a big honour to be recognised in this way and this honour is very special to me,” commented Tergat.
“I hope this type of event (FICA) will continue for many years. To see the film of my cross country victories, as well as my defeats on the track at the Olympics, brings it all back to me even though it was 20 years ago, and more. But it’s important to keep these memories for our children and grandchildren.
-Reception in Spain
“I have competed all over the world, but I remember well the reception I always got in Spain. The people here were always very warm and welcoming,” he added, clearly delighted but humbled by accolade and the accompanying applause.
In addition to his trophy, Tergat was also presented with a ceremonial inscribed Basque beret – a txapela – a traditional gift in the area.
His presentation, with Tergat receiving his trophy from Spanish athletics federation president and IAAF Council Member Raul Chapado, followed a two-minute visual review of his greatest races on what was deemed ‘IAAF Day’ at the Festival.