The International Meeting of Light Athletics "RIETI 2002" which is part of the prestigious circuit of the IAAF GRAND PRIX II, is programmed in the international calendar to take place on Sunday, September 8, on the magical track of the Athletic Stadium Raul Guidobaldi of Rieti. The competitions will start at 16.30. This year the Meeting will reach its 32nd edition , the last edition celebrated a glorious birthday, that of thirty years of feeling and enthusiasm by Rieti, together with athletic stars. To mark the annual rhythm throughout its preceding 31 years, all the important world champions in athletics have competed in this small, hospitable town of central Italy, achieving performances of such technical importance as to make this Sabine appointment become one of the most famous, renowned and prestigious on the grand circuit of international light athletics. It is not by chance if over the years, SIX WORLD RECORDS, ONE world best preformance, THREE EUROPEAN RECORDS, TWELVE ITALIAN RECORDS together with a vast number of Best Seasonal Performances and National records, have been broken on the field and dias of the "Raul Guidobaldi". It is enough to look in any book of statistics to find times and distances which were established in Rieti; they are the same athletes, who over the years, have chosen this Meeting as a focal appointment where they could try to improve their best performances. A curriculum, which is envied by the big continental meetings, built on the charm of a magical track, in an excellent climate, in a town that knows how to bestow affection on it's champions.
From Carl Lewis, defined the greatest athlete of all times, to Michael Johnson, from Pietro Mennea to Alberto Juantorena, from Sergej Bubka to Noureddine Morceli, from Daniel Komen to Steve Ovett, Steve Cram or Sebastian Coe, the myths of English long distance, from Sara Simeoni to Merlene Ottey, from Florence Griffith to Heike Dreschsler, from Irena Szewinska to Gail Devers, from Gabriella Dorio to Stefka Kostadinova, from Ana Fidelia Quirot to Kim Batten, from Maricica Puica to Maria Mutola have all contributed in rendering incomparable, the history of the Meeting. Together with all of them, Rieti has succeeded in making itself a place of prestige in the fascinating story of athletics. For more than a quarter of a century, the Meeting has been a point of reference. Names, timings and distances have been carved in an event of passion and in a most professional way, which history can never erase.
However, Rieti has become famous for its nickname that the athletic world has given it "THE TEMPLE OF MIDDLE DISTANCE" the origin of which was contributed to, in the last few years by Noureddine Morceli, with his fantastic exploits, crowned by a double World Record in the 1.500 metres and the Mile, achieved in rapid succession in 1992 and 1993. Those fantastic gallops resulted in the Algerian being granted honorary citizen of Rieti and gave the track an aura of magic. The incredible World Record of the 3000 metres, still undefeated, established during the edition of 1996 by Daniel Komen and of the 1000 metres established during the 1999 edition by Noah Ngeny, confirmed a tradition and aroused forgotten passions. Every year, many of the world's best athletes meet up in Rieti and the Organising Committee is attempting to set up a prestigious edition also for 2002, in a day in which thirtyone years in the history of a town and its passion for athletics, will undoubtedly result in an unforgettable afternoon. An afternoon, that by now, has already carved its appointment in the sport's calendar. An appointment which is precious to Rieti with its love of athletics, and dear to its all time champions. It is enough to look backwards - in thirty years -a unique tradition is reflected and more is still to come.
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