Dubai: Track and Field athletes have formally united worldwide with the launch of The Athletics Association on Thursday.
Setting out their initial objectives, former two-time Olympic and four-time world champion triple jumper Christian Taylor – appointed as the first president of the collective – vouched “to establish the right governance and long-term viability that is essential to do justice to the athletes we represent”.
“It’s this that has attracted the commitment and support of the athletes on the Board. We have athletes from every continent and a wide variety of disciplines; we are made up of Olympic and world champions, as well as world record holders and continental champions,” Taylor revealed.
Formed in response to the calls from athletes worldwide for independent representation, the objective of The Athletics Association is to provide track and field athletes with a meaningful voice, to fight for stronger athletes’ rights and to seek an athletes’ first approach to the sport.
The body aims to engage in positive dialogue with the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, and their own athletes’ commission, but will of course hold World Athletics to account when necessary and challenge them if they are not acting in the best interest of the athletes.
The non-profit Athletics Association has been busy developing a number of support services and member benefits for athletes, including a hardship grant fund, training courses, and discounts on products. Details of the full annual membership package will be announced ahead of the full roll-out in January 2021.
The new president also promised to rise up to challenges that athletes may face in the near future. “World Athletics recently published a strategic plan, and athletes have been identified as key stakeholders. The Athletics Association provides a representative voice and a simple way for the sport’s governing body to follow through on their commitment,” Taylor said.
This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference. We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge
“We are ready to contribute to the growth of the sport that we love, ensuring that athletes are part of the decision-making process. This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference. We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge,” he added.
The Athletics Association also agreed to a strategic partnership with Global Athlete, a progressive athlete start-up movement aiming to inspire greater athlete representation in organisations across the world of sport. The partnership brings together two organisations with similar values to collaborate on projects, share insights and drive change that will ultimately benefit the athletes and the sport.
The Athletics Association Board is made up of representatives from every continent and comprises 24 athletes, including individual global champions Christian Taylor (President) Emma Coburn (Vice-President), Allyson Felix, Ashton Eaton, Julius Yego, Katarina Johnson Thompson, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Tianna Bartoletta and Tom Walsh among others.