The Professional Triathletes Organisation and the USA Triathlon Foundation have launched a COVID-19 relief fund ©PTO

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has teamed up with the USA Triathlon Foundation to launch a COVID-19 relief fund ahead of next month's PTO 2020 Championship in Daytona Beach.

The fund will be used to support race directors, coaches, clubs and athletes who have experienced financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.

The PTO 2020 Championship is set to be staged from December 4 to 6 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Ahead of the event, triathletes including German Jan Frodeno, Dave Scott of the United States, Swiss Daniela Ryf, Mark Allen of the US and England's Lucy Charles-Barclay have agreed to donate merchandise for a prize draw called 10 Days to DAYTONA.

For the 10 days leading up to the PTO 2020 Championship, five unique prizes are set to be up for grabs daily, with the winners selected at random.

The PTO Professionals, USA Triathlon, British Triathlon, Challenge Family, Challenged Athletes Foundation and have also donated prizes, while fans are being encouraged to submit financial donations too.

Proceeds from US donors are set to go to the USA Triathlon Foundation, which will then distribute grants to eligible members of country’s multi-sport community who have experienced financial strain during the global health crisis.

Funds raised in the United Kingdom are also expected to be distributed nationally to those impacted by the pandemic.

Triathlete Jan Frodeno has contributed merchandise to the prize draw ©Getty Images
Triathlete Jan Frodeno has contributed merchandise to the prize draw ©Getty Images

"The PTO and our PTO Professionals have united around the world to support our global triathlon community in these difficult times," Charles Adamo, PTO executive chairman, said.

"We have worked with national governing bodies as well as race organisers to find ways to help.

"With many races cancelled, the PTO has reached out and supported 14 local races in 11 different countries.

"Many sports rely on major events like the US Open or Wimbledon to fund grassroots activity.

"While that is the long-term vision of the PTO, given the impact of the pandemic on our triathlon community, we wanted to use the PTO 2020 Championship as a platform to provide much needed assistance.

"The PTO 2020 Championship is a great opportunity to bring our worldwide triathlon family together and support one another."

Tim O'Donnell, co-President of the PTO, said triathletes have had to "weather the storm" after the organisation paid out $2.5million (£1.9 million/€2.1 million) to 200 professionals earlier this year.

"Many in our community have not had this type of support, so PTO Professionals wanted to find a way to pay it forward," added O'Donnell.

"The PTO 2020 Championship is a great opportunity for PTO Professionals to engage the triathlon community and provide a platform for people to lend a helping hand to those in need."