Little Athletics’ littlest competitors get their start

Jess O'Brien with the Little Athletics new comers. Picture by Chris Munro

By Tania Phillips

For eight weeks from January through February a group of would-be athletes will get a chance to start their Little Athletics career.

Warwick Little Athletics Centre Manager Jess O’Brien said the centre decided to restart their tiny tots section this season.

“We haven’t had them for the past couple of years,” she said.

“We had been finding that we’ve had to go back to basics and nurture our under sixes.”

She said the tiny tots program allows the younger athletes to get a soft introduction to Little Athletics before taking their place in the regular weekly events, making the experience more fun and less daunting.

“It just makes a bit more sense to let the older age group of the tiny tots get the skills and develop them and then when we get to the final few weeks of the eight-week program they can then get use to going to all the events,” O’Brien explained.

“When it comes to October and our season starts again they have an understanding of it. There are a lot of the kids who are shy, and they come out of their shells eventually but if we can try and get that happening a lot earlier it’s a lot easier.”

The Tiny Tots are held on Saturdays at the Warwick High School Hamilton Oval but starts at 8.30am-9.15am rather than the 9am-11am of the older kids.

Meanwhile the older members, the centre has around 70 athletes from Tiny Tot to Under 17s, are hard at work preparing for Regionals in Toowoomba in just over a weeks time.

She said while there was a temptation to put training off this weekend due to the annual Australia Day Cricket carnival, which their parents could be attending, because it is so close to state it was decided to hold Little Athletics this Saturday morning.

“They will be doing a bit more practice this week,” she said.

“There will be a lot of kids wanting to do very well because last season regionals were all away in Townsville so we didn’t have many people competing. There were only probably four kids that went.

“This year I counted this afternoon and we have 43 kids going and there are probably only a hand-full, maybe 10, who are under-seven and eights and so can’t go on to State, it’s Under Nine up. So we will have more than 30 people who could potentially go to the State titles in Brisbane. That will be amazing because that’s a lot of kids if they do well.”