Little Athletics Tasmania values inclusion. We recognise that all children have the right to participate in athletics and aim to provide an environment that is inclusive and removes all barriers to involvement. We understand that athletes with a disability want to participate for the same reasons as their able-bodied peers and we aim to create a welcoming place that allows them to feel comfortable to participate.
At a local centre level athletes with a disability can participate in their local competition with modifications if required to integrate into the existing program. Local centres can be assisted with resources to help this to occur, and parents are encouraged to speak to their local centre to seek assistance. Centres are encouraged to speak to parents about the best assistance they can offer. Modifications can be as simple as using a different weight for a throwing implement, lowering a hurdle height, or using a soft rope on the high jump. Running frames, racing wheelchairs, and throwing chairs are currently being funded and will be accessible at some centres.
Little Athletics is about Being One’s Best. Achievements and awards are around participation and achieving personal bests. Awards such as McDonald’s Achievement badges (Green, Red and Blue) and 25 Participation badges do not rely on times or places – just on participation and improvement.
Classification process for athletes with disabilities can empower and enhance the pathway of opportunities for athletes. This classification allows athletes to compete beyond their local centre competition to state competition and even nationally. The classification process requires contact with the appropriate organisation and completion of forms. Depending on the disability this may be all that is required. For athletes with physical impairment this will provide Provisional Classification and a further follow up is required.
Little Athletics Tasmania requires Provisional Classification only for State Championship events. At State Championships there are specific Multi-Class events which allow athletes with disabilities to compete against each other. With the use of the classification, we are able to use the MDS table established by AA to give and baseline score and award placings. This table has been calculated to allow athletes to with differing disabilities to compete fairly against each other. This same system is used for scoring at National Athletics Championships. (Classification is not required for Centre Level competition, but can be useful in determining modifications required e.g., which weight shotput is best suited).
This Classification process is for athletes 8 years old and over. This process can take some time, so if you are wishing to compete in State Championships or to nominate for the u13 – 15 State Team we recommend you commence the classification process as soon as possible. To move from Provisional Classification to Full classification may require assessment from a qualified panel, who currently need to come from the mainland. This usually occurs only once a year.
Links to learn more
Physical Impairment Physical Impairment | Athletics Australia
Hearing Impairment Athlete Eligibility – Deaf Sports Australia
Intellectual Impairment Eligibility – Sport Inclusion Australia
Visual Impairment Vision Classification | Paralympics Australia
Transplant Multi Class Sports – Transplant Australia
Does my child need to be classified to compete at a Little Athletics Centre? No. Classification is only required for competition at the State Individual Championships.
My child has hidden disabilities, how will my Centre know what to do? Parents are encouraged to speak to their local Centres, committee members and age group managers to let them know what assistance is required and why. Centres can allow modifications to allow athletes to participate at local meets.
My child is not very athletic, why should I get classification? Classification allows your child to compete in an equal way with other athletes with disabilities. It opens a pathway into a range of sports, not just athletics that are available to all. As the Para athletic movement grows there will be many opportunities in sport open. However, if your child chooses to not continue with athletics there is no obligation or requirement to do so.
My child can not do some events due their disability, is it worth doing little athletics? Yes, athletics provides many opportunities for social interaction and enjoyment of competition in the events they can participate in. Many events can be modified to suit or completely adapted e.g. Long jump for a child in a wheelchair could instead be a one arm wheelchair push.