One thousand athletes, coaches, team managers, officials and administrators descended on Mackay in June for the Oceania Athletics Championships after three years in hibernation. This year not only did we experience the joy of five full days of competition from Under 16s through to Masters, but for the first time we also added an Education Hub, in partnership with the Oceania Athletics Coaches Association (OACA). The purpose of the hub was to build the capacity and capabilities of all stakeholders so they could share their learnings when they return to their countries and local athletic clubs.
Four different sessions were run that covered wellbeing literacy, Paralympic classification, injury awareness and management (with chiropractic students), and an introduction to ‘Kids Athletics’. All sessions were practical with personal narratives highlighting best practice and activities that had every participant engaged.
In the daily wellbeing literacy sessions each participant received a ‘wellbeing toolkit’ that taught participants how to create a shared language of wellbeing that enables every individual within the sport to be the best version of themselves individually and collectively. Whether team manager, coach, technical official, administrator or athlete, there is a need to develop wellbeing at the ME level, and recognise that as we interact with one another it builds psychological safety and wellbeing at WE and US levels.
Our ‘Queen of Tonga’, Valerie Adams, five time Olympian and dual Olympic Gold Medallist, co-delivered the sessions and spoke of her journey as an athlete. She encouraged participants to think about who is on their ‘bus’ and whether those people are enabling the bus to move forward. Val also urged athletes to enjoy what they do and to take responsibility for their motivation and performances on the field.
A big thanks to Edwina Ricci for organising the program, and to Regan Kama from the Oceania Athletics team for her vision, drive and support in making these sessions a highlight of the week for many.