World Athletics has confirmed that it will avail a $500,000 (an estimated Shs1.9b) fund to assist athletes as sports struggles to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The fund created in partnership with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF), will be welcome after elite athletes have lost their prime source of income following the suspension of major events.
Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) Secretary Beatrice Ayikoru disclosed to Daily Monitor that the emergency is still being fine-tuned. The exact format and details of this assistance are currently being discussed in consultation with athletics member associations, the confederations and other stakeholders.
“We understand many athletes are experiencing financial challenges because of suspended events. It’s critical. We are working out the modalities and soon we shall make an official announcement,” Ayikoru said.
Ayikoru, who is a member of the multi-regional 10-man working group, indicated that the support is aimed at sustaining athletes who are training for next year’s Olympic Games and ease the financial burden.
“Obviously, not all athletes will benefit from this fund. We discussed last week and we have another meeting (this week) to develop the criteria of deciding which athletes require assistance. We have to fully understand the various needs and impact on stakeholders before a final decision is taken,” Ayikoru, a World Athletics council member, said.
Timothy Masaba, the UAF administrator, explains that there are further complications as beneficiaries of the money from State House have not received their stipend yet due to Covid-19.
“There is a hitch. As you are aware most people are working from home which makes such transactions a little complicated. But it will be sorted out soon,” Masaba said.
MAJOR EVENTS POSTPONED
The London Marathon: Postponed from April 26 to October 4.
The Boston Marathon: Originally scheduled for April 4 but now expected on September 14.
Amsterdam, Paris & Barcelona marathons: Postponed indefinitely.
The 2021 World Athletics Championships: Earlier scheduled for August 2021 but have now been pushed to July 2022.
The Diamond League: Postponed its first five meetings of the 2020 season due to be held in April and May in Qatar, China, Stockholm, Naples and Rabat.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships: Scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, have been postponed until next year.