Little Athletics started in Geelong, Victoria in October, 1964, with Trevor Billingham and a small group of children who met on an oval and took part in running events. From this simple beginning Little Athletics for boys and girls up to the age of sixteen has developed at a phenomenal rate.
Australian Little Athletics Union was formed in Perth on the 31st March 1972. Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Western Australian were the founding members.
Little Athletics in the ACT was established as a separate body to the NSW Little Athletics in 1983 and since that time has grown significantly as an Association for youngsters who would like to participate in all types of athletic activities as a family. The ACT Little Athletics Association (ACTLAA) comprises 16 Centres who provide representatives for a Board of Management involved in administering the activities for the region. This Association actively manages Little Athletics, including organised carnivals at the Regional and ACT level, for children ranging in ages from 5 to 16 years old from all around the ACT region, including Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman, Cooma, Jindabyne, Goulburn and Bega.
The main athletics season runs from October to March inclusive and most Centres conduct Saturday morning competition and mid-week coaching sessions on their local ovals. Typical events the children undertake are running, walking, jumping and throwing activities where the emphasis is placed on “taking part” and not on “creating champions” in athletics. The object of Little Athletics is to involve as many young people as possible in a regular, healthy, outdoor activity which will promote fitness, enjoyment and low key competition. Parental encouragement is recommended but in a friendly and helpful way.
The basic philosophy of Little Athletics is to provide fun, fitness and family involvement for children in sport by making the activity attractive to youngsters of all abilities regardless of athletic experience or potential. The notion of progressive improvement through the achievement of personal best performance is promoted to emphasise that no matter what position an athlete obtains in an event, they can achieve personal success by improving their own standards.
While Little Athletics caters for athletes of all levels of ability, it does, however, recognise talented young athletes and encourages them to stay in the sport, progress to senior athletics and compete at representative level. ACT carnivals and Championships are held to provide the young athletes with opportunities to compete against other Centres.