The World Athletics organization has pledged to continue providing financial assistance to Ukrainian athletes ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, scheduled to take place from August 19 to 27. The organization’s Ukraine Solidarity Fund provided over $220,000 in aid to more than 100 Ukrainian athletes in 2022, with 70% of the recipients being female.
World Athletics has renewed the Solidarity Fund and committed to implementing measures aimed at achieving gender equality in the sport through its #WeGrowAthletics campaign.
This announcement was made on March 8, 2023, in observance of International Women’s Day. – Read more: World Athletics approves Russians to compete as neutral athletes
The financial assistance pledged by the World Athletics organization comes at a critical time for Ukrainian athletes who have faced severe difficulties since February 2022, when Russia invaded the country.
According to Global Athlete, an international athlete-led organization, the invasion resulted in the destruction of 343 sports facilities, leaving an estimated 140,000 athletes without access to training facilities.
Additionally, about 40,000 Ukrainian athletes are currently training abroad to continue their pursuit of excellence.
Anna Ryzhykova, a female athlete who has won numerous accolades, including silver medals in the European Athletics Championships of 2012 and 2018, and a bronze medal in the 2022 edition, is among those who have greatly benefited from the Solidarity Fund.
Ryzhykova also placed fifth in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 and was part of the Ukraine team that picked up a bronze medal in the 4×400 relay at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Speaking on the impact of the fund, Ryzhykova said according to Reuters: “You forget about your career, about your dreams, and you think about how to survive and how to help your family and friends to survive, and the World Athletics Solidarity Fund really saved our athletes’ careers and gave us a chance to fight for our country in our own way.”
World Athletics has demonstrated its dedication to supporting Ukrainian athletes during these challenging times, and the renewal of the Ukraine Solidarity Fund and the other measures announced represent commendable steps in the right direction.