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Climate crisis: Athletes directly impacted by climate change, World Athletics finds

World Athletics had to change its schedule at the World Championships in Budapest this summer because of the extreme heat

Three-quarters of athletes have been directly impacted by climate change, a survey by World Athletics has found.

Athletes highlighted negative effects on performance and health, with 85% saying the sport in general has suffered because of the climate crisis.

The survey also revealed 90% of those questioned believe the sport’s governing body could also help to build a more sustainable future.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the concerns are “loud and clear”.

Nearly 400 athletes who competed at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August took part in what is the organisation’s third annual survey.

Lord Coe added: “Our athletes continue to speak clearly about the impacts that the climate crisis is having on their lives and on their sport.

“It’s important for us to continue to act on those concerns and use the influence we have to help drive meaningful change.”

Last week, YouGov figures showed nearly two-thirds of those who play or watch golf have experienced extreme weather associated with climate change in the past year.

The survey demonstrated how grassroots sports have struggled to thrive in conditions such as flooding.

World Athletics’ 2023 results are an increase on last year’s survey, when 72% believed climate change had negatively affected the sport and 66% reported a direct impact.

Athletes also raised the issue of air pollution, with 83% saying they were very concerned.

The survey is to coincide with the start of the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which begins in Dubai on 30 November.

Next year, World Athletics is implementing a scheme to improve sustainability at its events, while another initiative launched in 2022 has athletes act as green champions to highlight issues.

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