By Mike Rowbottom

IAAF centenary logoNovember 24 - Outstanding initiatives in advancing athletics in the six continental areas of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) were honoured in Barcelona today through the presentation by IAAF President Lamine Diack of the Spirit of World Plan Awards.

The ceremony marked the conclusion of the IAAF's current strategic policy, the Athletics' World Plan 2003-2012, designed to ensure athletics and its world governing body was fit and ready for the tasks of the next 100 years.

In Africa, Botswana has introduced a range of initiatives to provide appropriate training opportunities, educational assistance and financial support for athletes who otherwise would not be able to continue in the sport.

China has become the hub of competition in Asia and has organised many events at the national, regional and international level including the first ever National Kids' Athletics Games.

9f05c15a-368f-47ef-b8bc-98a840403678IAAF President Lamine Diack (centre) with the recipients of the IAAF Spirit of World Plan Awards

In Europe, Estonia has been very proactive in organising highly successful competitions at the national, regional and European level.

In NACAC (North America, Central America and the Caribbean), the British Virgin Islands revived the Leeward Islands Championships had been absent for years.

In Oceania, French Polynesia has adopted the IAAF Kids' Athletics programme widely and  had the programme officially adopted by its Government for inclusion in the school curriculum.

In South America, Brazil introduced the IAAF Kids' Athletics programme throughout the country where is has been particularly successful in the state of Parana.

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