London, April 29 (IANS) World Athletics, together with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF), on Tuesday launched a US$500,000 fund to support professional athletes experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, who also chairs the IAF, said the fund would be used to assist athletes who have lost most of their income in the last few months due to the suspension of international competition while the world combats the global health emergency, a press statement on World Athletics” official website, worldathletics.org, said.
Coe will chair an expert multi-regional working group to assess the applications for assistance, which will be submitted through World Athletics” six area associations.
The working group will meet this week to establish a process for awarding and distributing grants to individual athletes and to look at other ways 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.
“Our professional athletes rely on prize money as part of their income and we”re mindful that our competition season, on both the track and road, is being severely impacted by the pandemic.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to stage at least some competition later this year, but in the meantime we will also endeavour, through this fund and additional monies we intend to seek through the friends of our sport, to help as many athletes as possible.”
The coronavirus crisis has brought sporting events to a halt across the world. It has led to athletes losing income too.