World Athletics Day 2022: History, Significance, and Theme

Apart from being a vibrant Thursday, May 5th also marks to be yet another significant day to go down in the history of sports. Yes, itโ€™s the World athletics day that was first initiated by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) to offer awareness to the youngsters and also as a social media project โ€˜Athletic for a better worldโ€™. The primary objective of the day was to spread awareness about sports by sponsoring and conducting sports activities to inspire the youngsters. We will find more interesting facts about the World Athletics Day, its history, significance, and more.

History of World Athletics Day

It was in 1996, that the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) decided to host the first-ever World Athletics day 96 to bring awareness to the youngsters about the sports community. It was introduced by the then President of the association, Primo Nebiolo as a social responsibility.

Every year on May 5th, the IAAF organizes various games and sports events for kids, youngsters, and to schools and colleges to promote the importance of fitness and taking a part in physical sports.

Unlike other events, this day is celebrated globally across many countries where youngsters take it to the streets to showcase their gaming skills. This day is very significant in educating the people about the importance of staying fit and doing exercises.

It was in 1996, the first World Athletics Day was primarily themed around the Centennial edition of the Olympic Games in Atlanta. From the overall winners of the main event, two boys and girls were drawn from each of the continental areas (Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, North Central America, and the Caribbean) and they were invited by IAAF to attend the Atlanta Olympics.

The customs were practiced for many successful years to come as the IAAF believed in accolading the winner with a pass to attend the IAAF World Championships in Athens (1997), Seville(1999), and the World cup in Athletics(Johannesburg 1998). In the year 2006 participants for the event were between the age of 7 to 15 years but as days passed, the age gap was changed to 13 to 17 years.

The IAAF zeroes in on any day from the month of May to celebrate Athletics day to nurture the importance of physical exercise and educate about the various concerns regarding the health issues.

Some of the common events hosted during this day are marathons, track day, running, race walking and cross-country walking, etc.

Athletics Federation of India

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) was formed in 1946 and is affiliated to larger bodies like IAAF, AAA, and Indian Olympics Association. The AFI is responsible for organizing any sort of athletics event in India.

 The IAF conducts main events like the National Championships, trains Indian Athletics National campers, and selects Indian Athletics teams for various international competitions like the Olympics, Asian Games, CWG, IAAF World Championships, and other international meets.

The AFI has a total of 32 affiliated state units within and institutional units within its territory. AFI conducts International and National Championships and other sports meet to encourage sports participation.

Significance of World Athletics Day

During the initial stages of the event, the committee only focused on the participation of the children affiliated with the IAAF. But just when Athletics day began to attract its momentum worldwide, the IAAF decided to include students from schools to be a part of this one-day event. The primary objective was to conduct the events in school as these were the only places to nurture the importance of physical activity from the very basic. The prominent goal of the Athletics day is to promote:

  • Promote Athletics as the primary sport in schools institutions and other organizations
  • Build a connection between the youth, sport, and environmental conservation.
  • Double up the public awareness about sports and educate youngsters about the importance of sports.
  • Popularize sports, games, and physical fitness among the youth.
  • To establish athletics as the number one participation sport in schools all over the world.

What was once considered to be a sports event restricted to one region of the world has now spread its wings across the globe with many countries actively celebrating World Athletics Day globally. Taking part in sports helps the body and mind to stay active and completely energized. Apart from winning the medals, itโ€™s the pure adrenaline rush pumping and a sense of achievement that sets the bar higher for any event.

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