Skip to content

Ultimate Championship: World Athletics announce launch of 'must-watch' competition in 2026

The new Ultimate Championships will have a record prize pot on offer for the 'best of the best' pitting Olympic, World Championship, Diamond League winners and the year's top performing athletes against each other

A general view of preparation inside the National Athletics Centre ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Picture date: Thursday August 17, 2023.
Image: World Athletics has announced the 'World Athletics Ultimate Championship' with Budapest to host its first edition in 2026

World Athletics has unveiled a new biennial global championship meant to serve as a grand conclusion to the 2026 season, with a record $10 million (£7.9m) prize pot on offer and Budapest as the inaugural host city.

The World Athletics Ultimate Championship will be held every two years, with gold medallists receiving $150,000 (£118,000) as part of what the sport's world governing body says is the richest prize pot ever in the sport.

The inaugural championships are scheduled for three evenings, September 11-13, with each session taking place in under three hours.

World Athletics hope the fast-paced event can captivate global television viewers and younger fans. The competition will alternate with world championships to provide a showcase athletics event every calendar year.

The meet will feature between eight and 16 of the world's top-ranked athletes per discipline, with selections based primarily on world rankings. Some 400 athletes from about 70 countries are expected to compete.

"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 aiming to claim the title of the ultimate champion," World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said.

Sebastian Coe, President of the World Athletics Federation, attends the opening ceremony. Photo by: Sven Hoppe/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Image
Image: Sebastian Coe, President of the World Athletics Federation, believes the new competition will be a 'must-watch'

"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."

Also See:

The traditional world athletics championships are also held every two years. Budapest hosted the 2023 event, with the next one in Tokyo in 2025.

Ad content | Stream Sky Sports on NOW

Stream Sky Sports live with no contract on a Month or Day membership on NOW. Instant access to live action from the Premier League and EFL, plus darts, cricket, tennis, golf and so much more.

Around Sky