— Published 8 March 2023

For World Athletics, women are the future of athletics

Sebastian Coe continues his quest for a less sexist world athletics. The British leader, president of World Athletics since August 2015, intends to place his second term under the sign of feminization. With a quantified objective. And a generous contingent of measures and initiatives in favor of women.

The international body of athletics announced it on Tuesday, March 7, on the eve of World Women’s Day: the female gender must gain ground in the months to come. At the top of the pyramid, women representatives will have to be more numerous within the Council, the decision-making body of World Athletics.

In its current composition, it has eight female members. Not bad. And far above the majority of international sports bodies. But World Athletics wants more. The next elections, scheduled for August 2023 during the World Outdoor Championships in Budapest, will have to push the cursor a little further.

World Athletics announced in a press release that a minimum of 10 female members will be required to sit on the Board after the next elections. At least one of them will have to be a vice-president. The Council will then be able to have a 40% representation of women. Parity will not be far off.

Other objectives written in all letters: half of women in the four commissions of World Athletics for the fiscal year 2023-2027, a minimum of 20% of female coaches at the World Outdoor Championships by the 2025 edition in Tokyo, and a participation of 40% of women in the online training courses offered this year by the body based in Monaco.

Ambitious? No doubt. But World Athletics does not skimp on the means. The body announced its plan to organize a second conference on women’s leadership during the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. The first one was held last year in Eugene, Oregon, during the last outdoor world championships. She also plans to release two series of podcasts on the same theme, focusing on technical officials and empowerment.

Also in the pipeline is increased collaboration with one-day meetings and road races to achieve greater equality of participation and prize money between men and women. Finally, World Athletics announced its intention to publish a story of “inspiring” women every day in the women’s section of its website for a full year, between March 8, 2023 and March 7, 2024. They will then be compiled into an entirely digital collection.

A little more than 500 days from the Paris 2024 Games, World Athletics has not forgotten Ukraine. The authority explained it on Tuesday, March 7: its aid fund for Ukrainian athletes will be renewed in 2023. Last year, it allowed to distribute more than 220 000 dollars to a hundred of them. Female athletes were the main beneficiaries. They represented 70% of Ukrainian athletes who received financial support from World Athletics for training and competition.

Among them was Anna Ryzhykova. Specialist in 400m hurdles, fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Games and bronze medallist with the 4x400m relay at the London 2012 Games, the Ukrainian is a member of the World Athletics Commission. A first step, she promises, before taking other leadership responsibilities in world athletics. The door is wide open to her.