Malawi has missed out on an Athletics Association Federation (Iaaf) Covid-19 Relief Fund to help athletes following the suspension of sporting activities due to the pandemic.
In conjunction with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF), Iaaf announced a $500 000 (about K375 million) welfare fund, allowing athletes to apply for one-off grants.
In an interview yesterday, Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) general secretary Frank Chitembeya confirmed that Malawian athletes failed to meet eligibility criteria.
He said: “It is true we have not been considered for the relief. At the time qualifying games were cancelled, our athletes did not meet the qualification time.
“This funding could have greatly helped our athletes as they are doing individual training at home.”
In a statement signed by Iaaf president Sebastian Coe, among others, the applicants must have met the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying standard.
In addition, the applicants should not have violated anti-doping rules and should show a significant loss of income compared to last year.
Reads the statement in part: “The Iaaf has allocated a substantial sum to the fund and we hope to raise more through private donations from friends of our sport, but it has become apparent that the resources must be focused on athletes who are likely to be competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year and are now struggling to pay for basic necessities due to loss of income during the pandemic.
Registration for applicants opened in May with a working group overseeing the distribution of funds.
However, AAM will receive $15 000 (about K11.2 million) from Iaaf as part of the annual grant.
“We hope by next week, we will have this money and announce how we will disburse the funding,” said Chitembeya.