World Athletics along with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) have partnered for launching a $500,000 fund to help out the athletes who are in financial hardship because of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, the global governing body stated on Tuesday.

The deadly virus outbreak has forced all major sporting events around the world to get postponed or cancelled which led to a loss of income for the athletes. The World Athletics president Sebastian Coe is going to chair a group assessing the applications for assistance. The group is going to meet this week and also look into ways of raising additional funds.

Coronavirus fund for economically weaker athletes

Coronavirus
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"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," he said.

"We're hopeful that we will be able to stage at least some competition later this year. In the meantime, we'll also endeavour, through this fund and additional monies we intend to seek... to help as many athletes as possible."

The Diamond League, the elite track and field competition, was forced to postpone events in seven cities scheduled between April and June due to the outbreak. The next scheduled meet is in London on July 4 followed by Monaco on July 10.

(With agency inputs)