Bernie Ecclestone has been awarded the Bahrain Medal of the First Degree, one of the highest personal honours that can be bestowed by the Kingdom - and one usually reserved for heads of state and people who perform outstanding services and achievements to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The medal is awarded at the sole discretion of King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and was presented to the CEO of Formula One Administration [FOA] by the Crown Prince HH Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa during a ceremony at His Highness's office.

Ecclestone was in Bahrain at the invitation of the Crown Prince His Highness Shaikh Salman to view progress on the new circuit and witness the Kingdom's preparations for the forthcoming Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, which is due to take place on 4 April next year.

The presentation of the medal followed a tour of the Bahrain International Circuit and a detailed briefing on preparations for the 2004 grand prix - the first event of its kind to be held in the Middle East. Presentations were given by each of the ministries and national organisations involved in the logistical planning of the race at a meeting arranged by BIC Chairman His Excellency Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

Before leaving the Kingdom Mr Ecclestone met with His Highness the Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa.



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