Africa-Press – Gambia. More than 50 Member Federations and other organisations from all six regional areas celebrated Kids’ Athletics Day, making the inaugural edition on 7 May a truly global occasion.
Held to mark the launch of the new Kids’ Athletics programme, Kids’ Athletics Day has been created as an annual day to encourage all relevant groups to organise activities that give children the chance to participate in athletics, be active and learn new skills.
Some 30,000 children were involved in the inaugural year. Bolivia, China, Costa Rica and Turkey welcomed the highest attendances and Japan linked their events to the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo, part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series of meetings.Bolivia used the occasion as an opportunity to upskill 2500 coaches and deliver events to 12,000 children across the country. China held four in-person events, attended by 2500 children, while a social media campaign also encouraged kids to engage and get moving at home. Costa Rica, meanwhile, ran coach seminars in the week leading up to a national event, which was streamed live on YouTube and had more than 2000 participants. Turkey also held several events across the country involving thousands of kids.
“The event was incredible, with the children eager to discover further activities,” said Marco Brenes, Kids’ Athletics lead for Costa Rica. “During the previous week we held webinars for coaches and teachers of PE, as well as judges and support staff of the federation, and we continue working to update the whole country on the new Kids’ Athletics programme. The experience has been rewarding, and I want to continue to offer joy and skill development options to children in our country and beyond.”
In Africa, Guinea, Mozambique and Senegal participated as part of their Olympic Solidarity projects, while Algeria, Angola, Kenya and Liberia also took part, organising various activities.
In Asia, as well as the in-person and virtual events in China and Japan, activities were organised in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Tajikistan.
Countries involved in Europe included Albania, Azerbaijan, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Monaco, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. In Hungary, the national relay championships included children’s activities, while the Warsaw Kids Championships in Poland welcomed 400 children.Joining Costa Rica among the countries involved in the North American, Central American and Caribbean area were El Salvador, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. In Oceania, activities were arranged by organisations in Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji and New Zealand. In Australia, Kids’ Athletics is delivered through Athletics Australia’s Sporting Schools programme, and Olympian Brooke Stratton visited a school in Melbourne to inspire kids to be more physically active and get involved in athletics.
As well as Bolivia, other participants in South America included Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela. A number of other Member Federations have also indicated that they will participate in Kids’ Athletics Day on other dates throughout the month, with World Athletics encouraging everyone to get involved.
The vision behind Kids’ Athletics is the belief that every child is born to move, to play and to explore. No matter where they are in the world, no matter their individual circumstances, it’s their fundamental right to have access to sport.
All activities and resources, designed for use by Member Federations, schools and clubs, are available online for free at kids-athletics.org. World Athletics also marked the new programme by inviting young people aged between four and 14 from all around the world to design the Kids’ Athletics mascot.