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Australian kids reach new heights in health and fitness

Athletics Australia launch

Students in Cairns take part in the Athletics Australia pilot programme for Sporting Schools

Another Sporting Schools pilot programme is helping schools to increase the number of students who want to follow in the footsteps of some of Australia’s greatest athletes.

Athletics Australia and the Australian Sports Commission are on track with a pilot programme that got the starters gun at a primary school in Cairns today, as part of the Australian Government’s plan to get more children active and healthy through the before, during and after school hours sports programme.

Called IAAF Nestlé Healthy Active Kids’ Athletics, the programme is part of the $100 million Sporting Schools initiative which is set to be Australia’s largest school-based participation plan for children.

Sporting Schools is a key part of the Australian Government’s aim to encourage more Australian children to develop a lifelong interest in sport.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth said it was important for sporting bodies to work together to develop an engaging and supportive environment for Australian children.

“Participation in sport at a young age is critical to help children develop a deep connection to sport and a lifelong commitment to a healthy active lifestyle,” Mr Hollingsworth said.

“We are committed to creating an environment for Australian school children where they can get involved in sport based activities before, during and after school so we’re excited to be partnering with Athletics Australia, as well as many of Australia’s key sports to develop the Sporting Schools programme.

“This is about nurturing children’s love of sport and encouraging them to have fun and to participate not only to be physically active, but to be socially active as well,” he said.

More than 5,700 schools will be funded through Sporting Schools to deliver practical sport activities that suit their local needs.

Athletics Australia President David Grace QC added that the initiative provides a great opportunity for students to learn the fundamental movements required in athletics, fostering an interest in the sport that could become long term participation.

“IAAF Kids Athletics offers students in primary schools across Australia access to sport based activities before, during or after school and we are proud to be one of the sports available in the pilot phase,” Mr Grace said.

“It could introduce the track and field behaviours of running, jumping and throwing to more than 850,000 Australian school children, providing a vital opportunity for us to introduce our great sport to so many,” he said.

Sporting Schools pilot programmes involving 12 sports will continue to be rolled out until the end of next month, with the programme to include more than 30 sports in total from July 2015.

IAAF Nestlé Healthy Active Kids’ Athletics will be made available to all schools as part of the Sporting Schools programme once the current pilot is completed at the end of June.