Athletics in the Oceania region is thriving, and 2019 has thus far a year of surpassing previous ‘PBs and achieving new heights, both on and off the track. The 2019 Oceania Area Championships was the biggest in history, when 725 athletes, 120 technical officials and 110 team officials came to Townsville, Australia, to partake in this momentous event. The record-breaking Championships raised the quality of fields, gave athletes exposure to a high-level meet, and produced new Championship records in over 80% of the events. The latest and expanded approach ensures long-term development of the sport within the Oceania region.
On the International stage, Kelsey-Lee Barber produced a phenomenal performance at the 2019 World Athletics Championships. Barber claimed the Women’s Javelin Gold Medal in dramatic style, moving from fourth place to first with the clutch final-round effort of 66.56m. At the World Para Athletics Championships, Jaryd Clifford (AUS), Lisa Adams (NZL), Corey Anderson (AUS) and James TURNER (AUS) secured their Gold Medals with a world record-performance.
Off the track, Oceania Athletics has offered 11 educational courses throughout the region and supported six Member Federation (MF)-based courses, allowing further development for our coaches, technical officials, and MF administrators. The Oceania Athletics Association’s (OAA) high performance training centre played host to several athletes this past year. Some of the athletes that benefited recently include Joshua Jeremiah from Nauru, Lataisi Mwea from Kiribati, and Genina Criss from Guam.
Finally, our very own Area President, Geoff Gardner, was voted in as the new Vice President of World Athletics – a very proud moment for Oceania.
The biennial Regional Championships are set to return in 2020, as an opportunity for Federations to get international competition exposure for elite and developing athletes. This will be invaluable experience leading into the Tokyo Olympic Games.
- Polynesian Regional Championships, 14-15 May 2020 (Nuku’alofa, Tonga)
- Micronesian Regional Championships, 12-13 June 2020 (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands)
- Melanesian Regional Championships, 26-28 June 2020 (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea)
In addition to the Regional Championships, OAA will support seven World Athletics Permit meets across Australia and New Zealand, conduct several education courses, and offer various workshops across all of our Member Federations. The growth and momentum gathered in 2019 have fuelled the continual development and excitement for 2020.