Junior Sport Policy consultation begins aiming to improve longevity in athletics

(Story from Athletics Australia)

Athletics Australia is set to begin a consultation process to develop a Junior Sport Policy.

The policy will establish an evidence-based position on the appropriate programs for junior participants in athletics that:

  • encourage participation and a development of fundamental movement skills and physical literacy; and
  • provide the best opportunities for athletes to reach their potential

Athletics Australia has engaged the services of Benita Willis to assist with the consultation and development of the policy. Willis is an 11-time Australian record holder, including in the marathon and is a four-time Olympian, two-time Commonwealth Games representative, 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Champion, 2003 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships bronze medallist and three-time Australian 5,000 meters champion.

“Playing sport, not necessarily just competing, was my focus growing up in Mackay, North Queensland,” Willis said. “I’m hoping that as a qualified physical education teacher, that I can help bring learning strategy to the fore in developing this policy.”

Athletics Australia Member Associations and the Little Athletics family will be engaged as part of the policy development, while input will also be sought from:

  • International athlete development and pathway experts,
  • World’s best practice research and examples of child development,
  • Australian Sports Commission
  • Education Representatives
  • Coaches
  • IAAF and international athletics organisations
  • The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation
  • Teachers and Principals
  • parkrun Australia

Darren Gocher, CEO Athletics Australia said it’s the organisation’s goal to ensure that children continue to love the sport throughout their lives.

“We want to help children have less screen time and participate in sport for the sheer joy of it. Athletics is a sport that can be enjoyed regardless of age – the more young Australians that are involved, the greater the community benefit.”

James Selby, GM Program Development said that it the organisation’s responsibility to ensure that children develop a life-long love for sport, and a healthy lifestyle.

“As a foundation sport, we have to work with partners to ensure that the sporting experiences of our children are positive and age-appropriate,” he said.

“In doing this and supporting them with appropriate environments and coaching, we know that we can not only contribute to more Athletics Champions in future, but also better students, healthier individuals and a more connected community.”

The consultation process is expected to take three months with policy development set to
begin mid-2018.

Submissions can be made as part of the consultation process by clicking here.