Learning Objectives
At the end of this lesson, students should be able to;
(i) differentiate between track and field events;
(ii) trace the history and development of athletics;
(iii),describe the basic skills in pole vault, discus and shot pole events;
(iv) draw and label the sector with dimensions in pole vault, discus shot put events;
(v) perform the basic skills in pole vault.
Brief History
Activities similar to those covered under the scope of students (track and field) today have existed since man was created by God. Different civilizations since the early stages of human existence device various forms of running, throwing,and jumping for competition, and also to defend oneself or launch an attack when necessary. These activities where perfected for different purposes like hunting, warfare, recreation and entertainment. The first organized form.of modern track and field events started in Greece. These events were mostly staged initially during funeral ceremonies and religious festivals in honourable of their gods. These religious festivals later developed into national festivals of which the Olympic Games held in 776 B.C. became the most popular. These games were held regularly until 394 A.D, when they were banned by the Romans Emperor. The games were however revived in 1896 A.D by a Frenchman called Pierce de Coubertin. Since then, athletics which is also called track and field in some parts of the world have witnessed a lot of changes and development.
Athletic is about the biggest events in modern Olympic Games, also, various athletics competitions are now held all over the world. Apart from these games where athletics is very popular, there are other regional games around the world which are also prominent. These include thevAll-African Games for countries in African, the Asian Games for countries, European Games for countries in Europe, South American Games for countries in South American, Latin American Games for countries in Latin American, and also the Commonwealth Games, which unit nations that were formal colonies of Britain. National Games are also being held within various countries, for example, in Nigeria we have the National Sports Festival, which has athletics as one of the biggest events. There are also institutional games. These include, All Nigeria University Games (NUGA), West Africa University Games (NUGA), West Africa University Games (WAUG), International Federation of Universities Sports (FISU), and Federation of African Universities Sports (FASU).
Modern athletic was brought to Nigeria by colonial masters. Various competitions like the ’empire day’ were organised among schools. National recognition was however given to athletics in 1994 when the Amateur Athletics Association of Nigeria (AAAN) was formed. This body, which has since been transformed to Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is in charge of organising competitions and coordinating athletics in the country.
With improvement in technology, many innovations in terms of facilities and equipment have been made in the rules of athletics competitions and number over the years. For example, more events are being accepted for women during international competitions, and new events are being globally accepted as athletic events.
Nature of Athletics
Athletics basically consist of running, throwing and jumping events. All these events take place on special designed tracks and field, hence, the name track and field events. Athletics activities are therefore grouped into broad areas:
1. Track events
2. Field events
Track Events
These are basically running activities which take place on special marked out lanes, called track. A standard track is oval shaped and measured 400 metres with a minimum of 8 lanes a maximum of 10 lanes. Track events are grouped into three areas according to the speed and distance of the events as follows:
(a) Sprint races( e.g. 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, relay, hurdling).
(b). Middle distance races(e.g. 800m, 1500m, 300m).
(c) Long distance races (e.g. 500m, 10 000m, cross country, marathon).

Athletes in an Olympic track event.
Athletes in an Olympic track event.

Field Events
These form the second category of athletic activities and are made up of throwing and jumping.
(a) Throwing (javelin, shot put, discus, hammer).
(b) Jumping (high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault).
Facilities and Equipment
The basic facilities and equipment for track and field athletics are as follows:
1. The oval
The athletic oval is a 400 metre structure which consist of the following:
(a) The track is usually made of 8 to 10 lanes. The features include two straight tracks of 100 metes and two curved tracks of 200 metres. There are different kinds of track surfaces in use today. Examples include those made of cinder, clay, asphalt, and tartan. Tartan tracks are mostly used for standard competitions.
(b) The track surrounds an open field where jumping pitches and throwing sectors are constructed.
2. Shoes: The shoes for track and field vary, depending on the events and the surfaces.
Spike shoes are used for mostly running and jumping events while other shoes are used for the throws.
3. The wears: These include shots, track suits, vests(sleeved and sleeveless) and socks.
4. Other equipment: This depends on the type of events, e.g. vaulting pole, batons, discus, javelin, shots(for shot put), starting blocks, etc.
For the purpose of this class, emphasis would be placed on the following:
1. Pole vault: a jumping event;
2. Shot put and discus: two throwing events in field athletics.
To be continue on our next class




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