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Summary of Athletic Events

This guide has been written for parents to provide basic information about all the events that make up a weekly program at most Centres. Should you require further information about the rules, event or equipment specifications, please contact us. During the Little Athletics season, you will be encouraged to help out in many different ways to enable your child to compete each week. Every parent is an important part of the Little Athletics family and without your help, it would be difficult to conduct events for your child. Parents, like our athletes have different levels of experience and talents. Remember, all parents at your Centre are volunteers and are giving up their time for the betterment of the athletes.





Sprints are short running events, from 60m up to and including the 400m. Prior to the start of a sprint event, the athletes are placed in individual lanes and the Starter will give the commands “On Your Marks”, “Set” and then fire the gun for the athletes to start racing. Distance Distance races for Little Athletes are 800m (U9 – U17) and 1500m (U11 – U17). Prior to the start of a distance event, athletes may be placed in either a pack start (for larger groups) or in allocated lanes. The Starter will give the command “On Your Marks” and then fire the gun for the athletes to start racing.



Hurdle races are simply sprint events with hurdles placed at set distances apart in each lane. The heights of the hurdles change with the age of the athletes. They start at 45cm and go up to 76cm in height. The distances of the races range from 60m to 300m. All hurdle races are run in lanes. Athletes may need some coaching and practice with low training hurdles before they try the real thing. The Starters commands for hurdle races are the same as that for sprints. Hurdles are built to tumble easily when knocked provided they are hurdled from the correct direction. Hurdles must never be jumped from the reverse direction as they will not tumble and could cause serious injury.



Relays are one of the few opportunities that athletes have to compete as a team. Some Centres run relays as part of their weekly program, others enter teams into Association’s Region and State Relay Championships. Relay track teams consist of four runners who each run a set distance (eg. 70m, 100m, 200m, 400m or 800m) according to the type of relay. The athletes carry a baton, which must be passed onto the next runner. This change must take place within the specified change over zone. For field events at Region Relays, any number of athletes may enter with final results determined by individual performances being added together. The Starters commands for relay races are the same as that for sprints.


Race Walking

Race Walking is a distance event, therefore the start is conducted as a pack start. Walking races include the 700m, 1100m or 1500m distances, however, some Centres may have shorter distances for younger age groups. Race Walking is a progression of steps taken so that the walker makes contact with the ground, and that no visible loss on contact occurs. The advancing leg shall be straightened (ie. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position. The Starters command for race walking is the same as that for distance events.




Long jump

The Long Jump event area includes a runway (grass, dirt, asphalt or synthetic material) and a sand pit. The athletes run in between the lines along the runway until they reach the take-off area, and then drive themselves into the air off one foot, landing in the pit. U6 – U10 athletes take-off from a mat covered in sand. U11 – U17 athletes use a 20cm take-off board. Athletes usually have three jumps. They must ensure that their take-off foot is on or behind the mat / board and land in the sand pit. Athletes must exit the pit forward of the mark they made on landing. A foul jump will be recorded if any type of somersaulting is used.


Triple jump

Triple Jump uses the same event area as Long Jump. It also has the same basic rules and is measured the same way as Long Jump. The runway has lines marked at 2 metre intervals usually from 5m, 7m and 9m and the athlete chooses which of these lines will be their take-off mark. Athletes take-off from the board or a line marked on the runway and usually have three jumps. Triple Jump has three distinct stages – hop, step and jump.


High jump

The High Jump event area consists of landing mats, two uprights, a bar and a measuring stick. The athlete must run up, take-off from one foot, clear the bar and land on the mats, without causing the bar to be knocked off the stand. Each athlete has three attempts to clear each height. If they successfully clear the height on the first or second attempt, they must wait until the bar is raised before having another jump. The athlete may pass if they wish. For the U8 – U10 age groups, the scissors technique must be used. With the U11 – U17 age groups, the Fosbury flop technique maybe used.


Shot put

The Shot Put event area consists of a throwing circle, a stop board and a landing area (sector). The Shot is a metal ball and its weight and size varies, according to the age of the athlete. To begin the throw, the athlete stands in the circle and the Shot shall be put from the shoulder with one hand only. The Shot shall touch, or be in close proximity to the neck or chin and the hand shall not be dropped below this position during the action of putting. The athlete must wait until the Shot has landed, before walking out the back of the circle. The Shot must land completely inside the marked sector. Athletes usually have three throws.



The Discus event area consists of a circle, a landing area (sector) and a cage / net. A discus is a rubber, synthetic or wooden disc, which varies in weight and size, according to the age of the athlete. It is thrown from the circle and must land completely inside the marked sector. All officials and other athletes must be outside the cage / net when an athlete is throwing. Discus rules are very similar to Shot Put, except that there is no specific rule about how the Discus must be thrown.



The Javelin event area consists of a runway and a landing area (sector). The athlete must hold the Javelin at the grip. It must be thrown over the shoulder or upper arm and must strike the ground with the tip of the metal head first. It doesn’t have to stick into the ground. As the Javelin is a spear-like implement, all athletes and officials must carry the Javelin in an upright position and it must be walked back for retrieval. Everyone should stay clear of the immediate area, unless involved in the event and always make sure that you can see the Javelin at all times. Athletes usually have three throws.

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