The COVID-19 pandemic may have halted competitions sanctioned by the Oceania Athletic Association, but not the training and education of coaches and technical officials.
OAA president Robin Sapong, during the OAA Annual Congress held virtually last Saturday, said the association is capitalizing on this time-off to explore online learning.
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way we operate, but OAA has now explored more online learning opportunities and will continue to grow this aspect of our educational opportunities in our region,” said Sapong, who is also the general secretary of the Northern Marianas Athletics.
“We now can offer education to all sections of the Oceania Area via technology. Now is the time for us to increase our capacity and find new ways of educating our coaches and technical officials without the necessity for large amounts of money to be spent on travel. Time is now on our side,” he added.
When the pandemic struck in the first quarter of the year, OAA used the online platform to reach out to its member-federations and help them remain on track by providing tools/resources to both athletes and coaches/technical officials. OA Live, which is a question and answer program, was launched to provide insights on rules and regulations in the sport. Then there’s Tracks in the Sands, which is hosted by OAA competition manager Tom O’Shaughnessy and has ran its first two episodes with experts discussing “implements” and “starts.”
OAA has also joined World Athletics and the International Institute for Race Medicine in considering an online tool to conduct a risk assessment first before holding any event.
Meanwhile, OAA revisited its strategic plans for 2021-2024 and organization policies during the congress, which was attended by 20 member-federations, several life members, and World Athletics Commission members. The group also discussed the OAA Council Election to be held in 2021 and has confirmed the chairpersons for the Oceania Area Commission.
Fiji’s Joseph Rodan Jr., Australia’s Matt Mahon, and New Zealand’s Trevor Spittle and Dame Valerie Adams will head the Development Commission, Audit, Finance, and Risk Commission, Competition Commission, and Athletes Commission, respectively.
Adams was also named deputy chair to the Athletes Commission of the World Athletics, while Australia’s Benita Willis is a member of the group. David Grace, also from Australia, and Spittle are elected members of the Governance and Competition committees, respectively, while World Athletics vice president Geoff Gardner of the Norfolk Islands has been selected as chair of the Development Commission.