Thursday, February 17, 2011

Power of Sport Lausanne Award

The President of the Beirut Marathon Association, Mrs. May El Khalil was in the spotlight during the celebration organized by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) last Thursday in the Swiss world’s sports capital, Lausanne as she received the Power of Sports Award before 180 leaders and sports journalists representing 80 countries from all over the globe. The audience was preceded by Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The celebration was held in the Conference Hall of the “Olympic Museum” where El Khalil stood alongside the former Moroccan Minister of Youth and Sports, the Olympic Champion, Nawal El Moutawakel, and the Icelandic swimmer, Erlingur Johansson, who have received as well the Power of Sports Award. El Khalil detailed the difficult times she has encountered following the life-threatening crash accident that obliged her to undergo 36 surgeries before she could stand on her feet again. This accident, she stated, was a turning point in her life and it gave her further power to face the challenges and realize her dream embodied in the organization of Beirut Marathon. The latter started its journey on 2003 with six thousands of participants whilst the figures gradually waxed until it exceeded on 2010 the 30 thousands of participants from 72 countries.
At the end of her speech, El Khalil was greeted by loud applause after which the most prominent journalists asked her a number of questions. The same scene was reiterated during the special dinner organized by the AIPS in Beau - Rivage Palace Hotel, Lausanne. And during the dinner, which lasted for three hours, the awards were granted to the winners. Moreover, Mrs. El Khalil was seated on the main table in front of Dr. Jacques Rogge who participated in the awards distribution along with many important personalities from among the audience.
The dinner started with documentaries about each of the winners and the film presented by Beirut Marathon Association was unanimously admired much more than the others inasmuch as it included fabulous exceptional footage shedding light over the challenges faced by the Association while organizing the Marathon. Furthermore, the film was followed by a ten-minute speech from May El Khalil who drew the attention of the audience that applauded for her while some of them acclaimed “we want to go to Beirut and participate in the Marathon”. Thus, El Khalil could not but express her extreme gratitude for all the concern and warm greetings she has received and address an open invitation to the audience for paying a visit to Beirut.
However, the desire to visit Beirut did not stop at the limits of the audience but it drove as well the AIPS President Mr. Gianni Merlo to ask El Khalil, in the presence of vice-president of the Lebanese Sports Press Association, colleague Youssef Berjawi, to hold the AIPS executive bureau meetings in Beirut at the margins of the Marathon. In fact, his words were considered an unquestioned proof on his estimation and acknowledgment of the event’s importance as well as on the AIPS participation in its development and international promulgation.
Upon the end of the dinner, a large number of personalities headed for El Khalil in order to chat and take photos with her.
And as a result to the fact that El Khalil was touched by the warm greetings she has received, she did not want to voice her feelings and kept them to a press conference that she will be holding in Beirut during which she will be detailing her legendary day in Lausanne.

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