Team USATF Masters has, by far, the best Masters Track & Field and LDR athletes in the world. If a meet was held today with all of the world’s top performing Masters athletes participating, the US would score 2½ times more points than its two closest rivals (Germany and Great Britain). And yet, in World Masters Athletics Championships Team USATF only comes out on top of the medal table (the accepted measure of the top team) when the meets are in North America. Origin and Status of the W#1 Program
Team USATF Masters has only made the top three once in the past four World Indoor Championships. Why?
Quite simply many of the best US Masters athletes can’t or don’t travel to the World meets.
Some of the reasons are evident:
- Financial costs of travel to Europe or Asia, where the WMA meets are usually held
- Lack of information
- Unfamiliarity with foreign travel, including worries about unfamiliar food, inability to speak foreign languages, and fear of terrorism
- Inability to leave work or family responsibilities for meets that last one week
Due to these challenges, and with the goal of increasing international participation by US Masters athletes, the USATF Masters Committees (MTF and MLDR) have developed and are now implementing a Team USATF Torun World Number One (W#1) program that includes three elements, with a total estimated cost of $125,000 for the World Masters Indoor Championships in March 2019 in Torun, Poland:
- Creating “Championship Facilitators” to encourage top performing athletes to consider competing, help them become comfortable with any obstacles, and assist them in making their travel arrangements. Click here to become a Championship Facilitator!
- As sufficient funds are raised, travel assistance will be provided to support athletes that have performances in the top six in the World (based on current mastersrankings.com data within the time period 1 January 2017 to 28 January 2019.)
- Financial assistance for Masters Performances in individual events will be $400 for 1st, $350 for 2nd, $300 for 3rd, $250 for 4th, $200 for 5th, and $150 for 6th, up to a maximum of $1000 per athlete. The program is going six deep on the assumption that half of the best masters athletes in the world may not attend so the sixth best performance in the World still has a chance to medal.
- Provide prize money for medal winners – the amount depends upon the total amount that is donated to the program by the end of the Championships. If the total estimate of $125,000 is donated then the amounts are anticipated to be $400 for each gold, $200 for each silver, $100 for each bronze, with relay and other team events (LDR and Racewalk) prize money at those amounts for each team member (ie, a gold in a 4 x 200m relay would mean $400 for each of the four team members), up to a maximum of $1000 per athlete.
Therefore, for the upcoming Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland, any given athlete could receive up to $2000 towards their expenses (up to $1000 based on recent performances and up to $1000 for medals).
If you have questions send email to MTFChair at gmail.com