Yego vows to fight for athletes in the newly formed Athletics Association
Gilbert KiprotichChief Athletics Writer
Olympics javelin silver medallist Julius Yego has vowed to defend the rights of athletes following his appointment to the board of the newly-established Athletics Association.
Yego is among the 24 athletes appointed to the board that is headed by world triple jump champion Christian Taylor of the USA who is also the founder of the association.
The body was founded in 2019 in response to the calls from athletes worldwide for independent representation and to provide Track and Field athletes with a meaningful voice, to fight for stronger athletes’ rights, and to seek an athletes first approach to the sport.
According to Taylor, the association aims to engage in positive dialogue with the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, and their own athletes’ commission, but will of course hold World Athletics to account when necessary and challenge them if they are not acting in the best interest of the athletes.
“I am very proud of the progress made by the members of the Athletics Association Board. Since its initial inception a lot of work has been put in to establish the right governance and long-term viability that is essential to do justice to the athletes we represent. It’s this that has attracted the commitment and support of the athletes on the Board. We have athletes from every continent, and a wide variety of disciplines; we are made up of Olympic and World champions, as well as world record holders and continental champions,” the four-time World champion said in a statement.
Yego has been one of the key figures in fighting for athlete’s welfare in the country and is now eager to take a centre stage in the association as he represents the continent.
“I am very much happy and humbled having been elected the board member of the Athletics Association as the African rep. I will strive to help all and sundry for the rights of athletes’ voices. We in the Athletics Association look forward to championing for the athletes rights and seek advice and also give advice where necessary to World Athletics concerning the athlete’s issues,” said Yego.
The non-profit Athletics Association has been busy developing a number of support services and member benefits for athletes, including a hardship grant fund, training courses, and discounts on products. Details of the full annual membership package will be announced ahead of the full roll-out in January 2021.
“In addition to the board members, there are so many other athletes who have helped get us to this stage. World Athletics recently published a strategic plan, and athletes have been identified as key stakeholders. The Athletics Association provides a representative voice and a simple way for the sport’s governing body to follow through on their commitment. We are ready to contribute to the growth of the sport that we love, ensuring that athletes are part of the decision-making process. This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference. We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge,” he said.
The Athletics Association has also agreed to a strategic partnership with Global Athlete, a progressive athlete start-up movement aiming to inspire greater athlete representation in organisations across the world of sport. The partnership brings together two organisations with similar values to collaborate on projects, share insights and drive change that will ultimately benefit the athletes and the sport.
“Global Athlete is proud to be a partner with the Athletics Association. Establishing an independent association is a critical step in enhancing athletes’ rights. It is so important for athletes to have their own representation” said Rob Koehler, Global Athlete Director General.
“The sport of athletics needs to find a new and exciting path for success. This success can only be possible with real meaningful athlete engagement. Athletes have the desire to further grow the sport while at the same time ensuring the utmost care is given to athletes’ rights. Together we are stronger.” said Emma Coburn, The Athletics Association Vice-President.
Other athletes in the board are; world 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Emma Coburn who is also the vice president as well as Allyson Felix, Ashton Eaton, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Tianna Bartoletta and Tom Walsh.
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