World Athletics launches a new Global Championship to decide the best performers of the season

World Athletics

World Athletics has announced the launch of a groundbreaking new global championship event, the World Athletics Ultimate Championship. This innovative competition is set to transform the athletics calendar and define the ultimate performer in the sport.

All you need to know about World Athletics Ultimate Championship

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will pit world champions, Olympic champions, the Wanda Diamond League winners, and the year’s best-performing athletes against each other. The aim is to crown the ultimate champion, thereby setting a new standard for track and field events.

The inaugural championship is scheduled to take place over three evenings from September 11-13, 2026. Each session will be under three hours in duration. The fast-paced event is designed to captivate global television viewers and attract younger fans.

The competition will feature between eight and sixteen of the world’s top-ranked athletes per discipline. Selections will be based primarily on world rankings. Approximately 400 athletes from about 70 countries are expected to compete.

The championship will include sprints, middle and long-distance races, relays, jumps, and throws. Athletes will represent their national teams, ensuring that individual success is underpinned by national pride.

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will alternate with world championships to provide a showcase athletics event every calendar year. This ensures that athletics will enjoy a moment of maximum audience reach on an annual basis.

The championship will feature a record-setting prize pot of US$10 million, the largest ever offered in the history of track and field athletics. Gold medallists will receive US$150,000. All athletes competing at the championship will be financially rewarded.

Athletes will also benefit from greater promotional rights, allowing them to commercially activate and enhance their personal profiles.

The inaugural World Athletics Ultimate Championship will be hosted in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest. Budapest was chosen following a competitive process, which saw interest from a number of major global cities.

World Athletics President Seb Coe expressed his excitement about the new competition. He said, “With only the best of the best on the show and cutting straight to semi-finals and finals, we will create immediate pressure to perform for athletes aiming to claim the title of the ultimate champion.”

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship is a revolutionary addition to the athletics calendar. It promises to bring a new level of excitement and competition to the sport, while also providing unprecedented financial rewards for the athletes. As the world gears up for this grand event, fans and athletes alike eagerly anticipate the inaugural championship in 2026.

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