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World Athletics launches El Guerrouj's coronavirus hardship fund

Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco after winning the 2003 world championships 1500m in Paris
Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco after winning the 2003 world championships 1500m in Paris JACK GUEZ AFP/File
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Paris (AFP)

World Athletics launched a $500,000 (461.430 euros) fund on Tuesday to assist athletes in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe explained the fund initiated by retired Moroccan track star Hicham El Guerrouj was to assist athletes who have lost most of their income due to the suspension of international competition.

"Our professional athletes rely on prize money as part of their income and we’re mindful that our competition season, on both the track and road, is being severely impacted by the pandemic," Coe said.

Double 2004 Olympic champion and 1500m world record-holder El Guerrouj came up with the idea supported by Prince Albert of Monaco.

"The pandemic is causing economic pain to people from all parts of society, including athletes," Guerrouj said. "I am delighted that Seb and World Athletics reacted so positively to my suggestion."

The International Athletics Foundation, under the Presidency of Prince Albert, has supplied the funds.

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