The World Athletics (WA) has announced a USD 500,000 pledge to help athletes across the world affected by the pandemic. The WA and the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) have teamed up to start a fund for athletes who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to WA’s statement, it has opened applications for their Athletes Welfare Fund, which will provide a total of USD 500,000 to runners who are struggling financially due to the suspended racing season. The application is open to any track and field athletes who have achieved an Olympic standard in their event. These runners are legible to receive up to USD 4000.
WA president Sebastain Coe will lead a group assessing applications for assistance. The group will meet this week and will look into how to raise additional funds.
“I am in constant contact with athletes around the world and I know that many are experiencing financial hardship as a consequence of the shutdown of most international sports competition in the last two months,” Coe said in a statement.
Additionally, Coe also said “Our professional athletes rely on prize money as part of their income and we are mindful that our competition season, on both track and road, is being severely impacted by the pandemic.”
Only athletes who have been impacted financially to the extent that they are unable to maintain their basic standard of living should apply. All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: must be qualified (by meeting the entry standard) for selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, must have never had an anti-doping rule violation, must be able to demonstrate a justifiable welfare need through significant loss of income in 2020 compared to 2019.
Elsewhere, the fund goes to those most in need, the athletes those ranked in the top 6 in their event in the World Athletics World Rankings, those who have finished in the top 6 positions of any Gold Label Road Race in 2019 and those who have earned more than USD 6,000 in prize money from the Diamond League in 2019 will not be eligible to apply.
The notice also has pointed out that, athletes who, throughout the covid-19 pandemic, continue to receive an annual grant from their Government, National Olympic Committee, Member Federation or sponsors are not expected to apply unless they can demonstrate a justifiable welfare need as detailed above.
In this regard, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) has taken into account the possible impact of the pandemic on Ethiopian athletes. It is to be recalled that the EAF has pledged 4.5 million birr to go towards the national athletics team after its executive committee members reached an agreement. The EAF has provided the payments and equipment’s.