IAAF Kids’ Athletics

15 Mar 2016


The aim of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Kids’ Athletics Programme is to encourage children of primary-school age to practise athletics and inspire children, in this era of internet and video games, to be more physically active.

Shenzen City
Organisation IAAF Regional Development Centre (RDC) – Beijing
Start-end date
April 2011 – March 2014
Target group age
7 – 12 years old
Estimation of 240,000 children by March 2014
The programme is jointly supported by the Education Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, Chinese Athletics Association, Tianlianyangguang Sport Development Company Ltd, IAAF RDC · Beijing and sponsored  by Nestlé
Key facts
Shenzhen is located in the Guangdong Province of China which is in proximity to Hong-Kong, called the Chinese Special Economic Zone, with total population of about 10.47 million.
For inspiration

Download the file of the case study


The Kids’ Athletics programme is an IAAF-led programme that operates by engaging young people through exciting and creative means of practising athletics. The project consists of three stages:

From April 2011 to March 2012, to set up  Kids’ Athletics Experimental and  Demonstration Schools;

From April 2012 to March 2013, to establish  Kids’ Athletics Experimental District;

From April 2013 to March 2014, to implement  “IAAF Kids’ Athletics Programme” in all the  primary schools in Shenzhen.


Multi-sector collaboration and support

The IAAF Kids’ Athletics Programme in Shenzhen is successful because of the cooperation between International and National Federations, the government and the private sector. This multi-sector collaboration and support gives the programme a sense of unity and different skills to share.

A three-phase programme

The programme is divided into three different phases. From April 2011 to March 2012, 68 Kids’ Athletics lecturers who are PE teachers from more than 50 primary schools were trained. In the second phase, six primary schools were chosen as Kids’ Athletics Experimental and Demonstration Schools to carry out the IAAF Kids’ Athletics Programme. In the last phase, more than 300 primary schools of Shenzhen will carry out the Programme. Finally, early in 2014, the Shenzhen Municipality Kids’ Athletics Games will be held.

Practical and easy to organise

Two elements that make the programme feasible are cost and location. The set-up is not expensive and it can be implemented everywhere; it is a real “go anywhere” programme. A square of 50 m is enough to organise the Kids’ Athletics activities. The IAAF educates instructors, coaches and physical education teachers on how to improvise using the equipment used in the KA programme.



Promote sport and physical activity

The main objective of Kids’ Athletics Programme in Shenzhen is to reach 240,000 children. The three-phase programme allows a large number of children to be reached and to be encouraged to practise athletics from a young age. By reaching out to as many children as possible, the IAAF can promote the sport of athletics to a whole new generation of young athletes.

Improve public health and well-being

The IAAF identified that the practice of sport in general was declining for several reasons: the decrease of physical activities in schools; children were spending more time in front of the television; and obesity was on the rise with the WHO identifying it as a worldwide epidemic. To counter these negative trends, Kids’ Athletics aimed to improve the health and well-being of children through improved coordination and cognitive development, obesity prevention and increased social integration.

Support active societies

The programme provides lecturers who are PE teachers in primary schools  with some training that will then be shared with the children. The aim of the  project is to use PE teachers as a channel to encourage youngsters to practise athletics and other sports more often. The aim of this is that to engender a  lasting culture and system of sport and active society within the target audience.


Through local newspapers such as the Shenzhen Daily and Shenzhen Jingbao Newspaper. Also, the web site: iaaf-rdcbj.com is available  for information and updates.


The project is evaluated on a regular basis by the IAAF RDC · Beijing  and IAAF School & Youth Programme.

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