NEW YORK, OCTOBER 1998
Speech by Ambassador António Monteiro on the occasion of the Abebe Bikila Award presented to Mrs. Rosa Mota
I am very pleased to be here with you all at this inspiring event, to see in front of me literally a sea of enthusiastic athletes from over one hundred countries, demonstrating in the running world the type of unity and diversity that we see in our daily work here at the United Nations.
It is the same enthusiasm and determination you have to meet the grueling but fulfilling challenge of twenty six miles, that we, in the diplomatic community, need to meet the present and future challenges as we approach the new millenium.
I wish to extend my special greetings to my fellow countrymen and women who are here this morning. I cannot express how proud we are of the large contingent of dedicated portuguese runners that is participating in the marathon. My country is also honoured that today our marathon champion, Mrs. Rosa Mota, will be receiving the prestigious Abebe Bikila Award, presented each year to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of distance running.
Ranked for years as the Worlds Number One Marathoner, not only has Mrs. Mota won National, European, World and Olympic championships, but more importantly she has won the hearts of those of us in Portugal and around the world who admire her outstanding commitment and perseverance in the face of all adversary.
These are the very qualities that are needed to win the race against misunderstanding, war, poverty, disease and all the formidable problems that we face today.
Mrs. Mota said of her running, and I quote: "I dont measure my races by fastest times but by my effort. What matters to me is whether I run my best. That has always been my goal, to run to the best of my abilities" (unquote).
It is often very difficult for us at the United Nations to judge our successes and failures. What truly matters is that we dont give up, that we continue our efforts and continue working to the best of our abilities for peace and development for all.
Thank you, and I wish all of you a wonderful marathon tomorrow.