World Athletics President Sebastian Coe reiterated the importance of African athletics and highlighted the strides made in the sport during a visit to Cameroon for the recent Council meeting of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA).

Coe shared updates from World Athletics, including the promotion of athletes and the sport through innovations such as the launch of the World Athletics Ultimate Championship for 2026, the new Netflix series ‘Sprint’, the publication of World Athletics’ four-year business strategy ‘Pioneering Change’ and World Athletics’ introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists – an initiative aimed at further ensuring athlete welfare, empowerment and financial opportunities.

During the CAA Council meeting, which coincided with Douala hosting the 23rd African Athletics Senior Championships, the area association confirmed the approval of its safeguarding policy and future event hosts, and shared information following the creation of its gender leadership group. Discussions were also held on topics including the World Plan for Athletics, governance, future changes to the constitution, education and development, and the athletes’ commission. Coe also reinforced the importance of the autonomy of international federations in their ability to make decisions that are in the best interests of their sport.

“As I have said many times before, there can be no doubt as to the importance of Africa to our sport,” said Coe.

“There is huge depth of athletics talent on the African continent, and we must continue to foster this at all levels – from grassroots through programmes such as Kids’ Athletics, through to the increased number of competitions being held across the area.”

In 2024 alone, there are more than 270 events awarding world rankings points being held in Africa including Wanda Diamond League and Continental Tour Gold track and field meetings, plus road and off-road competitions.

“I am pleased that the CAA’s safeguarding policy has been approved,” Coe added. “Athlete welfare is of the utmost importance and this approval is in line with the recently introduced World Athletics Safeguarding Policy requirement of area associations meeting a deadline of the end of December 2024 to adopt their own safeguarding policies and procedures.

“Over 20% of the US$50 million World Athletics invests in grant funding for administration, competition and development over the four-year cycle goes to Africa. There are three African athletics development centres, and increased access is being provided to education and training in multiple languages across the continent. In addition, the area continues to express interest in bidding for World Athletics Series events, including the World Athletics Championships.

“Our sport is in good shape, and this is in large part due to Africa’s contribution.”

World Athletics

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