Teebwaki to the IAAF Gala 2012
FIRST-EVER DRAW WINNER.
By winning the M5000m. in the "Clubs" World Athletics Day in May, Teebwaki Kenneth's name was submitted to IAAF for inclusion (with all the other event winners) in a draw. Winners from all over the world have their names submitted for this draw. For the first time ever, since KAA has been taking part in WAD since 2000, an athlete from Kiribati has been lucky to be drawn out to attend an IAAF major event. This year, the annual Gala to celebrate the past Athletics season coincides with the IAAF Centenary.
Thus 17-year-old Teebwaki has been invited to attend the 2012 Gala in Barcelona, Spain, on November 23/24. Travelling with him will be his father, Kenneth Mayer, and arrangements are being made to obtain the necessary visas, etc. Each of the six IAAF Regions has two athlete invitees and, due to travel with Teebwaki from Kiribati, will be an athlete from Fiji. They will represent Oceania.
Together with the other global invitees, Teebwaki is due to be invited on-stage at the Gala as examples of the bright future of Athletics. Main IAAF sponsors adidas are due to provide the invitees with track suits, etc.
THANKS TO IAAF and KAA OFFICIALS.
Obviously KAA is grateful for the opportunity for one of their athletes to be part of such a historic occasion. There has already been considerable assistance from IAAF official, Stephane Merlino, and Oceania official, Ms. Yvonne Mullins, but great credit must be given to KAA Treasurer, Ms. Rusila Mwea, for making urgent arrangements to contact Teebwaki and reply to the invitation plus setting in motion the obtaining of passports, visas, etc. KAA Secretary, Arobati Brechtefeld, now working in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, has assisted the process by accelerating the provision of passports to Teebwaki and his father.
Thanks are also due to Bob Snow (OAA friend and statistician in Australia) who was a vital link in the obtaining of the Schengen visas from the Spanish Embassy in Sydney.
Even when the passports and Schengen visas were back in Tarawa there were delays in the provision of the Australian Transit visas, partly because approval for issue has to be referred to their Embassy in Fiji. In fact the travellers waited in Nadi (Fiji) to receive their Transit visas before flying on to Sydney.
ALL's WELL !
After all the sweat and time-consuming delays, Teebwaki and Kenneth successfully reached Barcelona in time to fulfil all their commitments. Kenneth was provided with a tuxedo in order to match the rest of those guests attending the celebratory Gala Dinner.
If there are comments and images from Teebwaki or Kenneth these will be added.
Image of a middle-distance race in Tarawa.