On Tuesday, June 5, the official exhibition for the Continental Cup called IAAF Heritage Collection was officially opened at the New Karolina Forum in Ostrava. The exhibition maps not only the history of the cup itself, but also offers a number of valuable exhibits.
Combining the best of the IAAF Heritage Collection, which was launched at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 in March, with additional artefacts and memorabilia from every edition of the IAAF World and Continental Cup, the Exhibition makes compelling viewing and endeavours to make athletics history evocative and accessible to everyone, regardless of their age or background.
The Exhibition contains 200 artefacts of athletics history spanning the period from the ancient Olympic Games right up to the present day. It brings together video, text and photographic displays covering 260m2 of the ultra-modern shopping centre and entertainment complex.
The first section of the Exhibition is entitled 'Athletics from ancient times to the end of the 19th century' and has artefacts from as early as the 5th century BC up until the end of the 1890s. It traces the origins and development of our sport through 2400 years.
The second section of the Exhibition focuses on the IAAF World Cup, which was inaugurated in 1977, and its successor the IAAF Continental Cup, which was founded in 2010 and is now contested every four years.
Among the items on display are programmes, posters, books, competition bibs and kit and one the two original IAAF World Cup trophies.
The displays have come from the IAAF archives and also via personal donations by athletes, including all the IAAF Continental Cup Ambassadors and Patrons. Visitors to the exhibition can see for example the starting numbers of the Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková or the American long jumper Mike Powell, in which they surpassed the world records. The real treasure is the original World Cup trophy, which was last held in 2006 and then turned into a Continental Cup. The IAAF has publicly released this trophy, which has been handed over to the World Cup since 1977.
The exhibition was opened by IAAF Council member Sylvia Barlag. "It is a pleasure for me to be in a city that loves athletics and understands this sport. Ostrava is an experienced organizer of major international events. Since 1961, the Golden Spike has been held here. There was a World Youth Championship in 2007 and a European Championship under 23 in 2011. Now a Continental Cup is waiting for us. I think this shopping center is the best venue for organizing the IAAF Heritage Collection because it is in the heart of Ostrava and everyone can come here. I believe this exhibition is unique and shows the magic of athletics, "she said.
The two-time 400 meter hurdles world champion Jana Pittman, came to ceremonial opening from Australia. Pittman will take the role of the captain of the Asia and Oceania team and she gave her first gold medal from the 2003 World Cup in Paris to exhibition. "This gold medal has a special place in my heart. I went to my first world championship in 2003. It was an unexpected victory for me. I look forward to the Continental Cup because it is a team competition and athletes do not get such a chance too often. It will be special, "she added.
Valuable artifacts were also donated by two Czech ambassadors of individual continents. Three times world champion in the 400 meter course Pavel Maslák provided one of his spikes, in which he won his second world title champion in Portland, which is one of the races he most remembers. Maslak is the patron of Africa. Also, Jan Kudlicka gave one of the spikes, in which he succeeded in overcoming the national record and winning the silver medal at the European Championship in Amsterdam. Both athletes would like to qualify for the Continental Cup at this year's European Championship in Berlin. If they fail, they promise not to let this event escape as spectators.
Director of the Czech Athletic Association Tomas Janků, who succeeded in winning the last year of the World Cup in Athens 2006, was not left behind. He dedicated the European team's T-shirt to the exhibition.
The IAAF Heritage Collection will be opened in the shopping center in Ostrava seven days a week from 10am to 8pm and lasts until September 9th.