World Athletics has come out with a new four-year strategic plan with an aim of driving the growth of the sport worldwide, as its headquarters in Monaco reopened this week after an 11-week shutdown.

In three online meetings that spanned the globe on Wednesday, World Athletics and its 214 member federations discussed the direction athletics will take over the next four years and the short-term challenges and opportunities the sport faces as the world begins to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, who chaired the meetings, said it was important to communicate regularly with the member federations in this unprecedented situation and to give direction for the future.

“It is exactly the type of roadmap our sport needs to bring together all our stakeholders with a single vision, mission and clear priorities,” Coe said. “Over the next few months we have an unprecedented opportunity on the back of the increased physical activity of people in lockdown. The latest research from shows that exercise has increased 88 per cent during lockdown and running and walking has topped the tables.

“We need to inspire these people to continue the habits they have learned and we will with our own campaigns but also by embracing campaigns that many others in our sport are driving,” he added.

The new plan will deliver new initiatives and programs with a focus on four priority goals: event participation at all levels, people”s development, engagement of fans and strong partnerships.

World Athletics aims is to create a database of one million fans who actively choose to connect and engage with the organisation and the sport by 2024.