The OAA Council Meeting took place in Saipan and had a full agenda that took most of the day. Many important matters dealing with the future of the sport were discussed and all of the details will be circulated over the coming weeks.
What can be announced now is that from 2010 onwards the Open and U18 Championships will be two separate meets.
The 2010 U18 Championship will be held in Nouméa, New Caledonia, in conjunction with the Open Grand Prix. This will be a timely test event for the NC Ligue where their officials and facilities will be put through their paces.
New Caledonia has staged two very successful South Pacific Games (1966 & 1987) and has a wealth of experience in staging big events. They are the leading sporting nation in the Pacific. The island athletes will be very keen to check out the track and the city of Nouméa prior to the 2011 Pacific Games.
The U18 Championships will be a qualifying competition for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore in June, 2010.
The 2010 Open Oceania Area Championships will be held in Cairns, Far North Queensland. The Championships will be held in conjunction with the Athletics North Queensland (ANQ) Championships. This will ensure a full programme with good fields in each event.
Moreover these Championships represent a major leap forward inasmuch as they will become truly Open Championships, as the best athletes from Australia and New Zealand will be invited to attend. This is an exciting prospect for the sport in our region.
The dates for the two 2010 OAA Championships will be announced after all appropriate consultation has taken place.
The Council unanimously endorsed the proposal submitted by a special steering committee to rationalise the management and delivery of all IAAF programmes in the Oceania Region.
In essence this will see a new-OAA take on responsibility for the high performance and educational programmes of the IAAF in Oceania. At the same time the OAA Council approved the relocation of the OAA office to South East Queensland, and the centralisation of all programmes.
This move will result in increased efficiency and the enhancement of programmes for the athletes of the area and their member federations.
The Technical Meeting for the Championship was held at 5.00pm, at which the newly arrived teams were welcomed. A very special welcome was given to Tuvalu, making their first appearance in the Championships since they were admitted to the IAAF.
Earlier in the day, at the OAA Council Meeting, New Caledonia was confirmed as having Associate membership of OAA. Their athletes are now eligible to win real medals, not the "chocolate medals" of years gone by!