Wednesday, 21 June 2023
Little Athletics 50th Anniversary
I am delighted, as Patron, to welcome you to Government House to mark the 50th year of Little Athletics in South Australia.
In doing so we celebrate the longevity of Little Athletics and the Little Athletics family – the officials, the umpires, the coaches, the parents, the administrators, the volunteers, the supporters.
And I know you do consider yourselves as a family.
Importantly we also today celebrate the involvement of children of all ages and abilities who gain so much by taking part in athletics.
As a proud elder sister, I well remember watching my brother Stuart, now 56, participating in Little Athletics in what were obviously its very early days.
Now, as Governor, I also take pride in the fact that one of my predecessors, the Honourable Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, was one of Australia’s greatest sprinters and an inspiration to many young people.
While not everyone can aspire to be as athletic as the Lithgow Flash, the joys of running, jumping, throwing, walking are inestimable.
And if enjoyed in childhood these pursuits can be just as energising in adulthood.
Through taking part in Little Athletics, young people have the opportunity to acquire new skills, to set challenges, test boundaries and learn that communication and competition can be fun.
Importantly they can take pride in their abilities and gain much from encouraging others to succeed.
These are universal skills that provide a good foundation for adulthood.
With so many pressures on young people these days - not to mention competition from social media and computer screens for a piece of their leisure time – it is heartening to know that there is a pursuit where they can be outside and enjoy the benefits of taking part in Little Athletics.
After all, it is a sport for everyone and all abilities.
Of course, Little Athletics relies on those who work hard to ensure that the organisation can continue to grow and thrive.
To everyone who is part of the family of 55 metropolitan and regional Little Athletics clubs in South Australia, thank you for your dedication and commitment, especially so because each club is made up of volunteers.
Thank you for giving the valuable gift of your time.
I know time is precious these days, but you are there to keep the clubs running, there to set up the tracks and equipment, there to run the competitions.
You sit on the committees, you help with fundraising and so many other tasks.
You are there on the sidelines cheering on the children, encouraging them to have fun, whether they win or lose because taking part is what counts.
I congratulate Little Athletics South Australia on your half century milestone and wish the organisation well for the next 50 years and beyond.
For the grandchildren and, some day, the great grandchildren of those early participants in Little Athletics and those who are new to the sport.
Thank you all for your part in ensuring through Little Athletics that our young people can learn to “be their best”.