Athletes on the start line of the U20 women's 10km race walk in Muscat (© Dan Vernon)
World Athletics, together with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and the Members of the Diamond League Association, has today launched a Ukraine Fund to support professional athletes affected by the conflict in their home country.
The fund’s purpose is to ensure that elite Ukrainian athletes and their key support personnel can continue to train, qualify and participate in World Championship events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Two groups will be eligible for funding: individual athletes (Group One) and key athlete support personnel and immediate family members (Group Two).
Group One includes athletes who are affiliated to the Ukrainian Athletic Association and have qualified, or have a credible chance to qualify, to compete at any upcoming World Athletics Championships until fund closure. Group Two includes those acting as a designated coach or team leader to athletes in Group One, as well as parents, spouses and children living together with athletes in Group One.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe commented: “It’s only right that the athletics community provides whatever support we can to the athletes of Ukraine, who have been put in this terrible situation and need our assistance to continue training and competing. I know several of our Member Federations in Europe are already hosting groups of Ukrainian athletes in training camps and I’m grateful for their humanitarian approach to these tragic circumstances. This fund will provide further support for Ukrainian athletes to enable them to have some stability and security as they prepare to represent their country while the war continues.”
Commenting from Ukraine, President of the Ukrainian Athletic Association Yevhenii Pronin said: “In dark times you can clearly see bright people. World Athletics, Diamond League, IAF and all the national federations that offered us their help - this is the standard of unity and support!
"Thousands of victims, millions of refugees, destroyed infrastructure, including sports infrastructure, terrified our hearts, but we believe that the worst is over.
"Every day I thank from my heart the entire world community for opening the doors of their homes for our people, for everyone who helps our athletes and their families and for World Athletics, for creating this fund for our athletes and our sport.
"The entire team of the federation is safe and is working to ensure that the athletes of our country and their families are safe and together with you we will save our favorite sport and make it stronger. Thank you from all Ukraine."
The fund will provide financial assistance to the following:
For Group One:
• Enrolment, subsistence and accommodation, at training camps / temporary housing;
• Travel and accommodation to compete at qualifying events for World Championships;
• Travel and accommodation to compete at World Athletics Championships if not otherwise provided;
• Training material and equipment.
For Group Two:
• Coach attendance to training and competition;
• Travel and accommodation to accompany Group One athletes at qualifying events for World Championships;
• Travel and accommodation to accompany Group One athletes at World Athletics Championships.
The fund opens today with a current budget of US$190,000, created with contributions from the IAF, Diamond League members and World Athletics. The Diamond League Association has previously donated US$30,000 directly to the Ukrainian Athletic Association and many of the individual meeting organisers will provide additional travel and accommodation support to athletes wanting to compete in their meetings.
It is expected that up to 100 Ukrainian athletes may require some financial support this year.
The fund can receive additional contributions at any time until fund closure which is set for 31 December 2023. Funding per beneficiary will be allocated on a needs-basis.
Potential beneficiaries can register for consideration by emailing UKRFund@worldathletics.org
Other athletics organisations who would like to contribute to the fund, should also contact UKRFund@worldathletics.org
World Athletics will coordinate with the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic community, through senior vice-president Sergey Bubka, to prevent any duplication of efforts.