When the global Covid-19 pandemic shut down most of the sporting world in late March, World Athletics’ Member Federations were among the first to adapt to the new circumstances to ensure that the sport would continue to move forward and serve its athletes, fans and greater community.
To spotlight some of those inspirational efforts, World Athletics is delighted to announce the nominees for the Member Federation Award, a special honour this year to recognise a Member Federation that has managed to deliver an uplifting athletics event, development event or other athletics achievement, in spite of the health and safety challenges it faced in 2020.
“We all know the difficulties that sport has faced during the pandemic but many of our Member Federations have risen to that challenge brilliantly and we wanted to acknowledge some of the exceptional work they have done to ensure that our sport continues to thrive in these very testing times,’’ World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said. “The commitment and creativity shown by our Member Federations demonstrates exactly why we are the world’s most global sport and I applaud their efforts.”
Each Area Association was asked to nominate two Member Federations. A vote by the World Athletics Executive Board selected the six finalists, one from each Area Association.
The winner will be announced at the World Athletics Awards 2020 to be held virtually on Saturday 5 December and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel, its Facebook page and via Twitter.
The six nominees, listed alphabetically, are:
Athletics Kenya (Confederation of African Athletics)
Despite nationwide lockdowns and other disruptions, the federation succeeded in organising and staging the Kip Keino Classic, the first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Africa. Kenyan athletes also competed well internationally, sweeping the team titles at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 with women’s winner, Peres Jepchirchir, breaking the women-only race world record.
Athletics New Zealand (Oceania Athletics Association)
While the country faced one of the toughest lockdowns worldwide, the federation was able to work its way out of it, first by helping to stage virtual events and later, live competitions. While high level athletes were not able to compete overseas, the federation organised several competitions, one of which was capped by an area record in the women’s hammer throw. The Rotorua Marathon in September was one of the first mass participation events to take place in the world since March.
Nicaraguan Athletics Federation (North American, Central American & Caribbean Athletics Association)
When lockdown measures began to be put in place, the federation was prepared, and played a leading role in helping other sports adapt to the health and safety protocols the pandemic required. In line with recommendations by UNICEF, the federation also prioritised the staging of events for children and young people to encourage mental and physical well-being.
Palestine Athletic Federation (Asian Athletics Association)
The federation was among the first to host both Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) Level 1 and Level 2 courses in an online format. The federation also conducted other online seminars during the various lockdown phases.
Peruvian Athletics Federation (Confederation of South American Athletics)
The federation was one of the most active in keeping the athletics community involved in the sport through a variety of virtual events. The activities included training programmes, seminars and coaching advice sessions with a Saturday morning physical education session specifically targeting kids the most successful.
Polish Athletics Association (European Athletics)
The federation successfully delivered much of the country’s competitive calendar in spite of the pandemic, including the staging of three World Athletics Continental Tour competitions, two in Chorzow and one in Bydgoszcz. Together with the Local Organising Committee and local authorities, the federation was instrumental in helping to deliver a safe and successful World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 in which Krystian Zalewski set a national record.
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