The World Athletics Athletes’ Commission has elected New Zealand’s four-time world shot put champion Valerie Adams as chair and Canadian 3000m steeplechase record-holder Matthew Hughes as deputy chair following the first meeting of its new membership this week.
As part of their new positions, Adams and Hughes will join the World Athletics Council as full voting members, following the governance reforms that were introduced by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in 2016. The chair and one other member of the Athletes’ Commission have been full voting members of the World Athletics Council since 2019.
“After serving as Deputy Chair of the Athletes’ Commission during my previous term, I am honoured and excited to have been elected as Chair by my peers,” said Adams, who is serving her third term on the Athletes’ Commission.
“The Commission plays a vital role in representing the voices and interests of athletes in our sport, and I am committed to continuing the work done by my predecessor. With the support of the Commission and the entire sporting community, we will strive to create a positive and empowering environment for athletes to thrive. I look forward to working closely with my fellow Commission members to make a lasting and beneficial impact on our sport worldwide.”
“Since retiring from competition last year and being voted on to the commission, I remain passionate about making our sport a better place for all and continuing to be a voice for athletes,” said Hughes. “I encourage all athletes to get involved in athletes’ rights, be it at club, Member Federation or area level. I am honoured to have been voted on to the role of deputy chair and I am humbled to be working alongside Valerie as chair. Together with Valerie and the rest of the Athletes’ Commission, I look forward to working to make our sport a better, safer and more inclusive place for all.”
The Athletes’ Commission comprises up to 18 members. Six members were elected or re-elected at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, while another six were elected in 2022. Up to six other members are nominated by Member Federations and appointed by the Council to ensure equal representation across all six Area Associations as well as different event groups.
Athletes’ Commission members (2023-2025/2027 – individual terms in brackets)
Valerie Adams (NZL) throws – chair (2023-2027)
Matthew Hughes (CAN) long distance – deputy chair (2022-2025)
Lisanne de Witte (NED) sprints (2022-2025)
Diego Garcia Carrera (ESP) race walk (2023-2027)
Adam Gemili (GBR) sprints (2023-2027)
Ivet Lalova-Collio (BUL) sprints (2022-2025)
Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) jumps (2023-2027)
Aisha Praught-Leer (JAM) middle distance (2023-2027)
Anna Ryzhykova (UKR) sprints & hurdles (2022-2025)
Lea Sprunger (SUI) sprints & hurdles (2022-2025)
Jasmine Todd (USA) jumps (2023-2027)
Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) race walk (2022-2025)
Paola Bonilla (ECU) long distance (2023-2027)
Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN) middle distance (2023-2027)
German Chiaraviglio (ARG) jumps (2023-2027)
Henry Frayne (AUS) jumps (2023-2027)
Halimah Nakaayi (UGA) middle distance (2023-2027)
Su Bingtian (CHN) sprints (2023-2027)
The current Athletes’ Commission features 10 women and eight men, with at least two members from each Area Association. Consistent with World Athletics’ commitment to gender equity, the chair and deputy chair of the Athletes’ Commission must be of opposite sex.
“I have always been a strong advocate of athletes having a voice in sport, and I am proud that at World Athletics our athletes not only have a voice, but full voting rights, ensuring that they have a say in decision making at the highest level of our sport,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
“Bodies like the Athletes’ Commission are vital in creating pathways for athletes to grow in our sport and make their way into leadership positions in all corners of the globe. They are also key to retaining committed people in the sport and ensuring that the right people help to shape its future.
“As we continue to make strides towards gender balance and greater diversity across all levels and areas of athletics, it is vital that we have an Athletes’ Commission that is genuinely representative of our sport, such as the one we have now. I am a firm believer that the more diverse an organisation, the better its decision making.”
Following the commission’s first virtual meeting on 24 October to elect the chair and deputy chair, the first in-person meeting of the current membership will take place in Monaco on 4-5 December.