Athletes’ Apex at World Athletics

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Featuring a groundbreaking $10 million prize pool, the largest in track and field history, with gold medalists earning $150,000…reports Asian Lite News

World Athletics, the global governing body for track and field competitions, on Monday, announced the launch of a top-level, compact biennial competition for elite athletes offering the largest-ever total prize pot of US$10 million and deciding the ultimate champion. 

The inaugural event, designed as the season finale, will be held in September 2026 and the athletes will represent their national teams.

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship is a groundbreaking new global championship event set to transform the athletics calendar and define which athlete is the best of the best by pitting world champions, Olympic champions, the Wanda Diamond League winners, and the year’s best-performing athletes against each other to crown the ultimate champion, the World Athletics announced on Monday.

Highlighting this revolutionary competition is a record-setting prize pot of US$10 million, the largest ever offered in the history of track and field athletics. The gold medallists in this event are set to receive US$150,000.

This innovative event, debuting September 11-13, 2026, and set to be held every two years, will first be hosted in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest, promising a spectacular conclusion to the summer athletics season.

Designed as the ultimate season finale with an aim to captivate millions of television viewers worldwide, the global championship event will feature a thrilling and fast-moving new format for athletics, the World Athletics informed in a release on Monday.

Taking place over three evening sessions, each under three hours in duration, the Ultimate Championship will showcase the best of athletics, including sprints, middle and long-distance races, relays, jumps, and throws. Athletes will represent their national teams to ensure that individual success is underpinned by national pride.

Setting a new benchmark for financial rewards in the sport, the World Athletics Ultimate Championship will feature a total prize pot of US$10 million, underscoring World Athletics’ commitment to pay its athletes more, provide them with additional earning opportunities, and increase their recognition, the release said.

All athletes competing in the championship will be financially rewarded and the ultimate champions will receive US$150,000 each. Athletes will also benefit from greater promotional rights, allowing them to commercially activate and enhance their personal profiles.

Chosen following a competitive process – which saw interest from several major global cities – and after hosting arguably the most successful World Athletics Championships in history last year, Budapest will welcome nearly 400 of the world’s top athletes for the inaugural World Athletics Ultimate Championship between 11-13 September 2026.

“With only the best of the best on the show and cutting straight to semifinals and finals, we will create an immediate pressure to perform for athletes aiming to claim the title of the ultimate champion,” World Athletics President Seb Coe was quoted as saying in a release.

“The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will be high on action and excitement for fans, setting a new standard for track and field events. Featuring athletics’ biggest stars, it will be a must-watch global sports event, and means track and field will host a major global championship every single year, ensuring for the first time that athletics will enjoy a moment of maximum audience reach on an annual basis,” he added.

“By embracing innovation and breaking away from traditional models, we are looking to reach a broader audience, particularly younger fans, and elevate the entire sport,” said World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon.

“There will be a strong focus on television audiences, to reach the biggest global audience possible. We also want to enhance the viewing experience, both at home and in the stadium, so we are looking at what new competition innovations can be introduced, all of which will be thoroughly tested in advance. We truly believe this will be a game changer for our entire sport.”

As World Athletics continues to prepare for this exciting new championship event, consultation with stakeholders – including athletes and their representatives, coaches, shoe companies, broadcast organisations, Member Federations, and many others – will continue throughout the summer before a full event launch this coming Autumn, the release said.

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