Building a community of wellbeing at the Oceania Athletics Championships

Building a community of wellbeing at the Oceania Athletics Championships

One thousand athletes, coaches, team managers, officials and administrators descended on Mackay this week for the Oceania Athletics Championships after three years of hibernation. This year not only did we experience the joy of five full days of competition from under 16s through to masters, but we also added for the first time an Education Hub in partnership with the Oceania Athletics Coaches Association (OACA). The hub’s purpose was to build the capacity and capabilities of all stakeholders so they could share their learnings when they return to their countries and local athletic clubs.
Four sessions covered wellbeing literacy, paralympic classification, injury awareness and management with chiropractic students and an introduction to ‘Kids Athletics’. All sessions were practical, with personal narratives highlighting best practices and activities that engaged every participant.

In the daily wellbeing literacy sessions, each participant received a ‘wellbeing toolkit’, which taught participants how to create a shared language of wellbeing that enables everyone within the sport to be the best version of themselves individually and collectively. Whether team manager, coach, technical official, administrator or athlete, there is a need to develop wellbeing at the ME level and recognise that as we interact with one another, it builds psychological safety and wellbeing at the WE and US levels.

Our ‘Queen of Tonga’, Valerie Adams, five-time Olympian and dual Gold Medallist, co-delivered the sessions and spoke of her journey as an athlete. She encouraged participants to think about who is on their “bus” and whether those people are enabling the bus to move forward. Val also urged athletes to enjoy what they do and take responsibility for their motivation and performance on the field.

A big thanks to Regan Kama from the Oceania Athletics team for her vision, drive and support in making these sessions a highlight of the week for many.

Edwina Ricci
Organisation of Sports Federations of Oceania (OSFO)