Irena Szewinska, Poland’s most decorated Olympian with seven medals across five track and field events has been laid to rest.
The pews of the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army were filled with representatives of the authorities as well as sportsmen and women. Szewinska was given a salute of honour by the Polish Army.
The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda underlined that the name Szewińska was a symbol of Polish sports.
"In the century of Poland regaining independence, we bid farewell to an athlete of the century, she was great in all respects, I think I can say it - she had a great life, she had talent that was discovered, fortunately for us and for Poland," the President said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki briefly recalled the great career of Szewińska, who wanted to be an actress.
"She was a great hope for Poland in difficult times, she gave glory to Polish sports, she was a model not only for athletes, but for all Poles, and we are very grateful for her," he emphasized over the coffin.
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, said that Irena Szewińska's death is a great loss for the entire Olympic family.
"She was a model for everyone and in everything, and at the same time she was incredibly modest, which is why she was an inspiration for athletes and women around the world," he noted. "Goodbye my friend, Irena!" An emotional Bach ended his speech in Polish.
Tomasz Majewski, double shot put Olympic gold medalist added: “The throne of the queen is going to be empty.”
Szewińska's funeral was well attended by dignitaries which included; Andrzej Duda, President of Poland with wife Agata, Witold Bańka (Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism), Lord Sebastian Coe (President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF), Andrzej Kraśnicki (President of Polish Olympic Committee), representatives of the Polish parliament, members of the IOC and foreign Olympic committees.
Irena Szewińska was a national hero in Poland and a Lady of the Order of Polish White Eagle.
(Photo by Leszek Fidusiewicz)
WARSAW, July 7, 2018 - With the whole Poland watching, Irena Szewinska's coffin was carried after a funeral service to her final resting place at Military Cemetery in Warsaw on Thursday, 5th of July - exactly a week after she died in the hospital in Warsaw after a protracted illness.