World Athletics Ultimate Championship - Sha'Carri Richardson wins the women's 100m wold title Budapest 23
FILE PHOTO: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 21: (L to R) Bronze medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica, Gold medalist Sha'Carri Richardson of Team United States and Silver medalist Shericka Jackson of Team Jamaica celebrate after the Women's 100m Final during day three of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for World Athletics)

World Athletics has announced the launch of the World Athletics Ultimate Championship, a revolutionary global event set to redefine the athletics calendar. This championship will pit world champions, Olympic champions, Wanda Diamond League winners, and the year’s best performers against each other to crown the ultimate champion.

Highlighting this groundbreaking competition is an unprecedented prize pot of $10 million, the largest in track and field history. Gold medallists will receive $150,000. The event debuts from September 11-13, 2026, and will be held every two years. The first edition will take place in Budapest, Hungary, promising a spectacular conclusion to the summer athletics season.

“This championship will feature only the best of the best, creating immediate pressure for athletes aiming for the ultimate champion title,” said World Athletics President Seb Coe. “It will be high on action and excitement, setting a new standard for track and field events. Featuring athletics’ biggest stars, it will be a must-watch global sports event.”

The Ultimate Championship will feature a fast-moving format over three evening sessions, each under three hours. Events will include sprints, middle and long-distance races, relays, jumps, and throws. Athletes will represent their national teams, blending individual success with national pride.

World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon emphasized the innovative nature of the event. “By embracing innovation and breaking away from traditional models, we aim to reach a broader audience, particularly younger fans, and elevate the sport. We want to enhance the viewing experience, both at home and in the stadium, with new competition innovations thoroughly tested in advance.”

Budapest was chosen as the inaugural host city following a competitive selection process. The city successfully hosted the World Athletics Championships in 2023 and is ready to welcome nearly 400 of the world’s top athletes. “Budapest is truly honored to host the Ultimate Championship,” said Balázs Furjes, IOC member for Hungary. “Staging this event will be a great chance to celebrate athletes from all over the world.”

The Ultimate Championship is designed to be the ultimate season finale, aiming to captivate millions of television viewers worldwide. “We are looking to reach the biggest global audience possible and ensure for the first time that athletics will enjoy maximum audience reach on an annual basis,” added Coe.

Consultation with stakeholders, including athletes, coaches, shoe companies, and broadcast organizations, will continue throughout the summer before a full event launch this autumn. ALSO READ, Shafiqua Maloney Triumphs as Caribbean Athletes Face Challenges at 2024 Edwin Moses Legends Meet

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