An online charity auction of athletics memorabilia staged by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has raised over US$30,000 for WFP, the UN Children's Fund UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
More than 50 world-class athletes donated running vests, bib numbers, statues and signed photos to the "Athletics for a Better World" auction, which ran on the internet from 16-30 January.
When we first launched 'Athletics for a Better World', we did so with the confidence that our sport's top stars would show that they cared deeply about creating a better world by donating articles of personal value
IAAF President Lamine Diack
The highest bid was for the gold medal competition kit and bib number which Double Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco wore when he won the 1995 World Indoor 1500 metres gold in Barcelona, Spain - his first ever global title.
The kit was the last item on offer, and appropriately enough raised more than any other individual item: US$3,406.98.
The second-highest sale price, US$2,443.01, was fetched by Haile Gebrselassie's framed competition bib number from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, at which the Ethiopian took gold in the 10,000 metres.
The next best figure, US$1,830.74, was bid for the Jamaican Asafa Powell's right sprinting spike, which helped him break the 100-metre world record in Athens in June 2005.
Funds and publicity
"On behalf of the IAAF, I would like to sincerely thank all those athletes and fans who have taken part in this first-ever online auction to raise money and public awareness for UN humanitarian causes," said IAAF President Lamine Diack.
“When we first launched 'Athletics for a Better World', we did so with the confidence that our sport's top stars, past and present, would show that they cared deeply about creating a better world, by donating articles of personal value.
"Thanks to the support of the public, I am delighted that we are now able to donate more than US$30,000, divided equally between FAO, UNICEF, and WFP, and that we have also helped to publicise the important work being done by these UN organisations."
The running vest donated by WFP Ambassador and marathon world record holder Paul Tergat, in which he narrowly won the 2005 New York marathon, raised US$962.61.
Tergat, who is also the Africa ambassador for "Athletics for a Better World", benefited from WFP school meals as a hungry child growing up in Kenya's impoverished Rift Valley, and now credits his successful athletic career to the food he received.
For more information about the auction, see the Athletics for a Better World website.