ANOCA Slams World Athletics’ Olympics Prize Money Plan

By: Gyang Dakwo

In a growing tide of international backlash, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa has expressed its disapproval of World Athletics’ initiative to offer prize money to gold medallists in Paris 2024, describing it as “repugnant to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement.”

At its two-day 61st session in Abuja, Nigeria, the African federation, presided over by Mustapha Berraf, reaffirmed its full support for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its leadership and condemned World Athletics after it announced last week that it will make history by becoming the first to distribute prize money at the Olympic Games, starting with Paris 2024.

World Athletics’s announced plan is for champions to receive $50,000 (€47,000) at Paris 2024, with silver and bronze medallists also being rewarded from LA 2028 onward.

“ANOCA reiterates its disapproval of the recent decision by World Athletics to offer prize money to gold medallists at the Paris Olympic Games. This decision by the International Federation, although sovereign, is repugnant to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement,” the association stated in a press release.

On the geopolitical front, ANOCA called for a show of international solidarity to support the athletes and NOC of conflict-torn Sudan, while recalling that it was the first to support the participation of all athletes, including those from Russia and Belarus, in Paris 2024.

“This is in line with the IOC commitments and the Olympic Charter. ANOCA calls for the neutrality of sport and the politicisation of its many multidimensional activities,” it stated.

Committee members condemned “the unethical behaviour of some officials, who use disrespectful language to undermine solidarity within the IOC,” and strongly urged all Olympic athletes to participate in accordance with IOC standards.

It also called on the world’s political authorities to uphold the Olympic TRUCE, which is synonymous with peace and respect for the well-being of humanity.

African Olympic officials are not the only ones as a number of sports federations and personalities have expressed displeasure with what World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe had glowingly described as “a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole”.