(ATR) High-level athletics competitions disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic begin their seasons.
Johannes Vetter wins javelin in Turku. (World Athletics/Ville Vairinen)
A shortened and restructured Wanda Diamond League season opens in earnest on Friday in Monaco, three days after the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland launched the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series.
About 6,000 fans attended the event in Finland, witnessing six meet records including Johannes Vetter’s 91.49m effort to win the javelin. It was the best throw in more than two years for the German, who is the 2017 world champion.
World Champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden added almost three meters to the meet record in the discus.
Six Continental Tour Gold meetings remain on the 2020 schedule that runs through late September.
After two exhibition events in Oslo and Zurich earlier this summer, Monaco’s Stade Louis II will host the first of five full events on the Diamond League calendar. Events in Sweden, Italy, Qatar and China are on the schedule as well as exhibitions in Switzerland and Belgium. Six Diamond League meets for 2020 have been cancelled.
FIFA Confirms Covid-19 Relief Plan Leader
Olli Rehn is FIFA's point man for its Covid-19 relief plan. (Wikipedia)
FIFA’s choice to lead its Covid-19 Relief Plan steering committee says “with cooperation the world over… we will be able to keep the damage to football caused by the coronavirus crisis to a minimum”.
Olli Rehn , who was named chair of the steering committee last week, spoke at the Finland Football Association Congress in his home country over the weekend.
As a member of FIFA’s Governance Committee, Rehn helped create the $1.5 billion relief plan unveiled in June. As part of the plan, every one of the 211 FIFA members receives a universal solidarity grant of $1 million with an additional $500,000 allocated specifically to women’s football. Each confederation receives a $2 million grant. Interest-free loans are also available.
He also defended FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who is being investigated by Swiss authorities for three meetings with the Swiss attorney general. Rehn says the meetings in question were associated with ongoing investigations in which FIFA is an injured party.
“I cannot easily find anything unjustifiable in it, as long as we are talking about the rule of law and a constitutional state,” Rehn said.
ITF Announces Coaching Initiative
The International Tennis Federation announces the launch of a new initiative to certify coaches through the ITF certification program, with the aim of increasing the number of qualified tennis coaches at all levels of the game across the world.
To reflect the ITF’s Advantage All gender equality strategy, the initiative will produce more opportunities for women to develop and qualify as coaches.
This initiative marks the first time the federation has certified tennis coaches. Moving forward the ITF will partner with national tennis associations, who were previously responsible for conducting coaching certification.
“Having access to high-quality tennis coaching has been proven to be a highly significant factor in both increasing participation in tennis and in successfully training high-performance players," said ITF Executive Director for Tennis Development, Luca Santilli.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the online ITF Academy, which was launched in 2019.
"We have been pleased to see coaches around the world use our resources on the ITF Academy this year, with a 413% increase in the number of registered users on the platform," Santilli added.
New Fundraising Model for USA Weightlifting
USA Weightlifting raised $71,292 in 30 days to support regional clubs in addition to aiding national competitions ahead of Tokyo 2020.
More than 670 individuals donated to the cause.
The federation partnered with Snap! Raise, the leading provider of fundraising to U.S. high school youth groups and teams, to engage directly with donors at the individual participant level. This approach is new to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic movement.
Covid-19 has created financial uncertainty for many national governing bodies (NGBs).
The campaign collaboration with Snap! Raise, the nation’s leading provider of digital fundraising technology will help generate money into local clubs to ensure weightlifting facilities remain open.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging, and we’ve had to be innovative in our fundraising efforts to help keep the sport afloat”, said Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Weightlifting. “We are very grateful to over 600 of the individuals who donated and I’m sure they will take pleasure in the fact that the funds raised will go directly towards supporting our member clubs."
Written by Gerard Farek and Greer Wilson
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