World Athletics announces new global competition with record prize fund

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates victory with members of the USA men's relay team

World Athletics has announced a new global championship to start in 2026 which will feature the biggest prize fund in the sport’s history.

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will see world champions, Olympic champions, Diamond League winners and the year’s leading athletes go up against each other while representing their national teams.

The event will have a $10m (£7.87m) kitty with gold medallists receiving $150,000 (£118,000).

Competition will take place over three evening sessions and will include sprints, middle and long-distance races, relays, jumps and throws.

World Athletics says it will be “the ultimate season finale” and will be a “thrilling and fast-moving new format for athletics”.

Budapest, which staged last year’s World Championship, will host the inaugural event from 11-13 September 2026 – and it will be held every two years after that with host cities to be decided.

“With only the best of the best on show and cutting straight to semi-finals and finals, we will create an immediate pressure to perform for athletes,” said World Athletics president Lord Coe.

“The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will be high on action and excitement for fans, setting a new standard for track and field events.

“Featuring athletics’ biggest stars, it will be a must-watch global sports event and means track and field will host a major global championship in every single year, ensuring for the first time that athletics will enjoy a moment of maximum audience reach on an annual basis.”