Ambitious grassroot programme IAAF Kids’ Athletics launched

In an ambitious initiative for grooming athletics talent at the grassroot level, the IAAF Kids’ Athletics programme was today launched in the country with the national federation taking up the challenge of reaching it to every Indian primary school as long-term goal.

The programme, which has been adopted by 134 countries so far since its inception in 2005 and meant for children of age the group 7 to 13, was kickstarted with a two-day national workshop which began today.

The IAAF Kids’ Athletics was introduced in the country last year but could not make any headway. With Athletics Federation of India deciding to have an active involvement and coming up with a long-term goal, the porgramme got a boost this year.

Athletics coordinators from 20 states took part in the workshop conducted by world body IAAF’s senior development manager Gunter Lange to kickstart the initiative which is currently one of the biggest grassroots development programmes in the world of sports.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla, who was present during the launch, said it would take more than 10 years to see the programme reach to every primary school in the country.

“It is a beginning. We are not claiming that it will make a huge impact very soon. It is an ambitious project but it will take 10 years or so to meet the objective of taking this to every primary school in the country,” Sumariwalla said.

Those who took part in the two-day workshop here will get an IAAF certification and they will hold similar workshops in their respective states in April. The actual programme at the schools in the states will be held in June and July by these trained personnel.

Intra-school competitions will then be held in August, culminating to the National Inter-School competition in September. All these events will be held under the aegies of the AFI.

“In the last five years, the IAAF Kids’ Athletics programme has acheived pheneomenal success. The programme has now started in India and we are positive about its success here also. You never know 16 years down the line, one of the kids from this programme may win a World Championships or Olympics medal,” said Gunter who has the experience of working in Asian countries for 27 years.

Mumbai-based sports training and development company KOOH Sports is a partner of the AFI in this programme.



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