Stars assembled at Zurich Weltklasse Heritage event (Weltklasse) © Copyright
News Zurich, Switzerland

Weltklasse Zurich’s Heritage evening reunites legendary athletes

IAAF President Sebastian Coe made a symbolic handover of a replica IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque to organisers of the Weltklasse Zurich during a special Heritage event organized in the Swiss city on Wednesday evening (29).

"I can't think of another venue or another track meeting in the history of our sport that is more deserving of this award," Coe said, as he made the presentation to Co-meeting Directors Christoph Joho and Andreas Hediger.

Launched in December 2018, the World Athletics Heritage Plaque award melds iconic and historic athletics careers, cities, competitions, culture, landmarks, performances and venues across the globe to recognise outstanding contributions to the worldwide history and development of track and field.

"It will come as little surprise that Weltklasse Zürich easily fulfills that criteria," Coe said.

Following the formal change of the IAAF’s name to World Athletics which will take place in Doha next month, the plaques will be manufactured. The Stadion Letzigrund will be one of over 30 locations around the world which have already been announced that will unveil the plaque in 2020.

The Weltklasse Zurich Heritage event, supported by IAAF Heritage, took place at the CLOUDS Bistro located on the 35th floor of the Prime Tower in the heart of the Swiss city.

Coe, who broke the world record for the 1500m in 1979 and the mile at the meeting in 1981, joined nearly two dozen of the sport's biggest stars who have a strong connection to Zurich, including high hurdles legends Renaldo Nehemiah and Colin Jackson, world 400m hurdles record holder Kevin Young, former 800m world record holder Wilson Kipketer, 1992 Olympic 800m champion Ellen van Langen, Switzerland’s three-time world shot put champion Werner Gunthor and two-time Olympic hurdler Jon Ridgeon who is now the IAAF's CEO.

The evening also included remembrances of Andreas Brugger, a long-time meeting director in Zurich and an early champion of the sport's professionalisation, who passed away last December at 91.

The number 91 formed a strong theme for the evening, representing the meeting's anniversary as well as Brugger's age at his passing last year. In honour of both, 91 candles illuminated the venue.

Capping the evening, Joho and Hediger symbolically presented Coe with the Zurich Trophy, which recognises the city's contribution to the development and success of the meeting. A replica trophy is being manufactured and will become a permanent addition to the IAAF Heritage Collection.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF