This evening World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon and Balazs Nemeth, CEO of the LOC of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, officially opened the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) Heritage Athletics Exhibition in Budapest.

Joining them for the cutting of the ribbon were the LOC co-chair Miklos Gyulai, President of the Hungarian Athletics Association, and a host of top Hungarian athletes including 2018 world indoor shot put gold medallist Anita Marton and 2012 Olympic hammer throw champion Krisztian Pars.

The spectacular exhibition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the World Athletics Championships, the first edition of which took place in Helsinki, Finland, in 1983, and showcases the history of Hungarian athletics.

The MOWA Heritage Exhibition Budapest 2023 is the world’s largest ever display of athletics competition clothing, shoes, equipment and trophies donated by many of the greatest athletes in our sport’s history. The exhibition is enriched by historic Hungarian athletics artefacts that have never been publicly displayed before.

Located in Etele Plaza, Budapest’s newest shopping mall, the huge (600m2) display is open to the public for five months, closing at the end of the final day of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (19-27 August 2023).

“The opening of the MOWA exhibition marks an important milestone on the journey to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, the greatest sports event in the history of Hungary, and in the world this year,” said Ridgeon, the 1987 world 110m hurdles silver medallist.

“From Carl Lewis’ three golds that highlighted the inaugural championships in 1983 to the three world records set by Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Tobi Amusan and Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis that grabbed the world’s attention in Oregon last year, the World Athletics Championships has been centre stage of global sporting entertainment for four decades.”

Nemeth, CEO of Budapest 2023 NZrt, added: “Today is a particularly exciting day for us, as the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest officially set foot in Hungary by this opening. Although the competition itself is still five months away, the MOWA exhibition will give visitors a taste of the wonderful world of athletics.

“The fascinating exhibition is the perfect opportunity for fans and those new to athletics to get a glimpse of the pinnacle event of the queen of sports, the World Championships. It is a bit like watching the WCH Budapest 23, its superheroes who inspire us to take up sport and live healthier.”

Hungary’s distinguished history on display

Five Hungarian outdoor World Athletics Championships medallists, including the country’s three most recent podium placers Marton (London 2017 shot put, silver), Balazs Baji (London 2017 110m hurdles, bronze) and Bence Halasz (Doha 2019 hammer throw, bronze), along with Zsolt Nemeth (1999 hammer throw, silver) and Pars (2011 and 2013 hammer throw, silver), were in attendance and have made loans of memorabilia from their competition careers.

These important items are displayed in a section of the exhibition which highlights the distinguished history of Hungarian athletics.  

Click here to read more about the Hungarian exhibits.

MASZ, the Hungarian Athletics Association which was established in 1897, was one of the 17 founding national federations that created the International Amateur Athletics Federation, today known as World Athletics, in 1912.

Coaching guru Igloi honoured

The outstanding coaching career of Hungary’s Mihaly Igloi was celebrated during the ceremony.

Ridgeon announced the award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque in the posthumous category of Heritage Legend to Igloi, who coached a host of world record-breakers and Olympic medallists including Sandor Iharos, Istvan Rozsavolgyi, Laszlo Tabori, Bob Schul and Jim Beatty.

Click here to read more about Mihaly Igloi.

Hungarian Athletics Association President Gyulai received the plaque from Ridgeon.

The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for ‘an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking’.

Virtual reality

Athletics is an ancient sport but there is nothing old about how this exhibition displays our history.

There are two audio photo walls, a cinema room and other LED screens playing archive competition action, and a Virtual Reality zone, where visitors can journey through MOWA’s online platform, the world’s first 3D virtual sports museum.

There is also the opportunity to explore the times, heights and weights that have made athletics history. Visitors can lift the throwing implements, touch the hurdles, and stand back in awe and admire the world record heights and distances of the jumpers.

The exhibition, which is open from 11am to 7pm each day, is free to enter and offers visitors a welcome gift, competitions and prizes. It is located on the 3rd Floor, Etele Plaza, Budapest, Hadak utja 1, 1119 Hungary.

Limited edition merchandise

Fans can also join in the 40th anniversary celebrations with their own piece of limited edition merchandise. From t-shirts and mugs, to caps and tote bags, the range marks 40 years of the World Athletics Championships and the cities that have hosted the global showpiece during the past four decades.

World Athletics Heritage

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