‘It seems crazy’: Josh Kerr unhappy with world indoor athletics prize money

<span>Josh Kerr won 3,000m gold but says prize money in Glasgow was lower than meeting appearance fees for athletes like Noah Lyles.</span><span>Photograph: Sam Mellish/Getty Images</span>
Josh Kerr won 3,000m gold but says prize money in Glasgow was lower than meeting appearance fees for athletes like Noah Lyles.Photograph: Sam Mellish/Getty Images

Josh Kerr has hit out at the lack of money in track and field, calling the $40,000 (£31,500) on offer to gold medallists at the World ­Athletics Indoor Championships “crazy” ­compared to other sports, and urged fresh investment – whether it is from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere.

The 26-year-old, who won the world 3,000m indoor title with a storming performance on Saturday, also made it clear he backed Michael Johnson’s recently announced plans to set up a new US-funded athletics league in 2025. Johnson, a four-time Olympic gold ­medallist, is said to have already raised ­millions in an attempt to revolutionise the sport with a TV-friendly team-based ­format, and last week joined forces with global sports marketing firm, Winners Alliance.

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“There is not a lot of detail but he has a large voice on the scene and wants to make a bit of a ruckus, and that sounds great to me,” Kerr said. “From an athletes’ point of view, it’s going to give us options and options is what we are looking for to make a living and also show off our ­performances. As long as it’s clean athletics, then I am good with it.”

Kerr also called for World ­Athletics to do more to boost prize money in their events, having won $40,000 for his victory in Glasgow, with silver medallists earning $20,000 and those who won bronze getting $10,000. “That seems crazy versus other sports,” he said. “We need to bring some validity to these championships.”

“We are very lucky to have the likes of Noah Lyles, Grant Holloway, Femke Bol; having amazing ­athletes come here and do their job,” he added. “But those numbers are lower than appearance fees now for athletes of that calibre. We’ve got to find ways to attract athletes to race more and to race head-to-heads more. We need to race and we need to have head-to-heads and the way to do that is pay athletes good money to race a series of events.”

When asked what he thought of the potential for the Saudi Public ­Investment Fund to add track and field to their lengthening sporting portfolio, and the possibility of running in Saudi Arabia itself, Kerr did not rule it out. “We are walking a fine line with some of the LIV Golf stuff,” he said. “But if people want to come and invest money in the sport then I think it is needed.

“I do think World Athletics are doing what they can to interest investors and try and bring some more eyeballs But that’s what 2024 is about. We have another Olympic Games to try and bring the viewership up, bring the sponsorships in and I think it’s definitely needed.”