The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday announced a US$500,000 solidarity fund to help member federations in the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) area recover from the devastating damage caused last year by the four hurricanes.
Athletics federations across the region lost communications, offices, training facilities and equipment during the passage of hurricanes in 2017. Tragically, Hurricane Irma took the life of famed coach Xavier “Dag” Samuels as it passed through the British Virgin Islands. Samuels coached British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster, the 2017 400m hurdles world leader and IAAF Diamond League champion.
Announcement made in Puerto Rico
IAAF President Sebastian Coe made the announcement during a visit to Puerto Rico, the home country of Victor Lopez, the president of the North American, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC).
“I hope these funds will go some way to rebuilding the sport in the countries most affected by the hurricanes,” said Coe, who met with representatives from NACAC member federations in San Juan.
Will continue seeking more funding
“We know this is not enough but hope it will at least get the member federations affected back up and running. We will continue to seek further funds and work with the region to ensure athletes’ training is as uninterrupted as possible.”
Coe praised Lopez for the work he and his team have done in keeping the IAAF informed about the challenges being faced in the region.
“I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to NACAC Area President, Victor Lopez and his team for their unflinching and tireless work over the last five months keeping the member federations and me informed of what was happening and conducting a thorough audit of the damage that has occurred across the sport in the region,” Coe said.
For his part, Lopez said he was concerned about how the region’s athletes would prepare for competition for the coming season given the devastation brought by the hurricanes.
The fund is made up of contributions from the IAAF, the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and Seiko.