Only the most successful elite athletes in track and field make a healthy living through prize money and sponsorships, so World Athletics (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. WA has opened applications for their Athlete Welfare Fund, which will provide a total of $500,000 to runners who are struggling financially due to the suspended racing season.
The application is open to any track and field athlete who has achieved Olympic standard in their event. These runners are eligible to receive up to $4,000 towards living expenses.
“The IAF has allocated a substantial sum to the fund, and we hope to raise more through private donations from friends of our sport, but it has become apparent that the resources must be focused on athletes who are likely to be competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year and are now struggling to pay for basic necessities due to loss of income during the pandemic,’’ Sebastian Coe, WA President, said.
“We know this is a stressful situation for many athletes and we are trying to provide meaningful assistance to as many as possible as quickly as possible so they can continue to train for the competition season we have now scheduled for August to October, and for next year’s Olympics.’’
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Several Canadian athletes who achieved Olympic standard in 2019 (even if they haven’t officially qualified for the Games) will be able to apply. For runners interested, the application can be found here.
So far, the only Canadians nominated for Team Canada are Evan Dunfee, Dayna Pidhoresky and Trevor Hofbauer.