Attracting children and teenagers to athletics is essential, both for developing the stars of the future and for building the popularity of the sport.
Reaching out effectively to young people is also important because of athletics’ role in promoting active, healthy lifestyles and in the fight against obesity and related illnesses.
To engage Europe’s youth and keep them involved, athletics must offer a welcoming and supportive social environment, an appropriate, well-organised competition programme at the local, national and international levels, competent coaching and other high-quality services in partnership with clubs, schools, government ministries, sponsors and others.
Currently, Europe’s top young athletics prospects have the opportunity to develop their skills and experience through European Athletics’ programme of international championships for the junior (under-20) and under-23 age groups. And starting in 2016 we will stage biennial European Athletics Championships for the youth (under-18) age group.
Looking beyond the elite talents, European Athletics also monitors the youth-oriented promotional and fitness programmes developed by our Member Federations and the IAAF’s School and Youth activities in Europe – including the hugely popular Kids’ Athletics programme – and then helps promote the exchange of best practice to enhance their impact.
Our plans for the future are to assist the federations in their efforts to bring the benefits and values of athletics to an even wider audience by supporting the development of new ideas and partnerships