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World Athletics President Coe meets President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe travelled to Ukraine this past weekend and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine in the capital city of Kyiv, on Constitution Day, Friday 28 June 2024.

During the meeting the following topics were discussed:

  • President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, for the assistance provided to Ukrainian athletes and their families.
  • President Coe underscored World Athletics’ unwavering support for the people and athletes of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression.
  • President Coe committed to continue financially supporting Ukrainian athletes through the Ukraine Fund, together with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and Members of the Diamond League Association. The fund provides support to professional athletes affected by the conflict in their home country, ensuring they can continue to train, qualify for and participate in World Athletics Series events and the World Athletics Championships.
  • The Head of State expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the IAF to the affected Ukrainian athletes, coaches and their families.
  • President Zelenskyy also commended the decisions made by World Athletics in early March 2022 to prevent representatives of Russia and Belarus from participating in any international athletics competitions.
  • “Thank you for your strong steps and decisions. Russia needs to feel that its terrorist war will cause its athletes to be treated accordingly. And that the price for this war is very high,” the President of Ukraine emphasised.
  • President Coe condemned the loss of Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, which has seen more than 500 sports facilities been damaged or destroyed, with more than 400 athletes killed during the war.
  • World Athletics committed to work with the Ukrainian Government in the lobbying of international organisations and national governments to help financially support the reconstruction and development of these facilities.
  • Both parties discussed exploring other initiatives and further support for Ukrainian athletes, including the creation of a programme focused around supporting 18-22-year-old athletes and their coaches, so they can continue to compete in athletics at international level.
  • President come shared information with President Zelenskyy around a new holistic initiative based on World Athletics’ Kids Athletics programme, aimed at leveraging athletics to support mental health and well-being. The programme, focused on children in Ukraine who have been deprived of parental care due to the war, would include sports camps, using athletics to promote mental wellbeing, life skills sessions, and community-building activities to help children cope with trauma and loss.
  • President Coe invited President Zelenskyy to attend athletics at the Olympic Games in Paris as his personal guest, should the President’s schedule allow.

Others attending the meeting included
National Olympic Committee of Ukraine President, Vadym Hutsait, Acting Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Matviy Bidnyi and World Athletics Communications Director, Jamie Fox.

Credit: World Athletics 

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