STATEMENT REGARDING THE AUSTRALIAN LITTLE ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

From the Board of Little Athletics Australia

The Board of Little Athletics Australia wishes to advise that the 2020 Australian Little Athletics Championships (ALAC) has been cancelled due to the evolving situation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This decision aligns with the ACT Government’s state of emergency advice regarding non-essential mass gatherings issued earlier this week.

This decision follows Friday’s announcement by Athletics Australia of the cancellation of their Junior Nationals later this month.

LAA has taken this decision in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our Little Athletics community.  The decision is based on the current threat of Coronavirus impacting the health and welfare of our athletics community and Australians broadly.

This difficult decision to cancel ALAC completely was not taken lightly and has been made in line with the latest federal and state government expert health advice.

Consideration was given to the option of holding ALAC later in the year, however, this would likely have required adequate qualification events at the state level to be scheduled close to the 2020/21 season, which would have resulted in organisational and logistical difficulties for state and territory offices as well as centres.

LAA also considered the option of holding ALAC ‘under restricted conditions’ however, in line with the latest expert government health advice regarding static mass gatherings and enhancing social distancing, it was determined that the risk posed from group travel and any potential long-term isolation of minors while away from home was too high.

The LAA office is working closely with the state and territory associations, our partners, governments and other commercial providers to minimise the impact of this decision on our members.

Little Athletics Australia President, Andrew Pryor said; “This has been a difficult decision by the Board and I ask that we all work together to ensure the Little Athletics community remains safe. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that, once this situation is resolved, we are ready to resume providing opportunities for children to enjoy athletics in a safe environment.”

LAA CEO, Martin Stillman said; “ALAC draws athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, families and spectators from all over Australia. This places our event in the category of 500+ attendees. We have an obligation to our Little Athletics family and to the broader community to assist authorities in limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

The Little Athletics Australia team will continue to ensure the organisation and its members are supported and prepared to meet the challenges as they present themselves. The team is also actively engaged with Athletics Australia and Sport Australia to find ways of adapting to the circumstances and ensure they deliver the best outcomes possible for the sport.