Athletics refers to any sporting activities, but more specifically, it refers to mainly track-and-field events that include running, jumping or throwing. The sport has spanned time and generations from as far as the eighth or ninth century BC.
The Ancient Olympics
In 776 BC, the first ancient Olympic Games was held in Olympia, Greece. Back in the times, only one event was contested: the stadion or stades (running race). Moving forward, diaulos (two-stade race) and dolichos (third foot race) and many other athletics events were introduced in subsequent Olympic Games.
The Modern Olympics
In 1896, the first modern Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece. This marked a new era for track-and-field with more events added and the use of standardized metric measurements. Then, the Games included 100-meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 110-meter hurdles, pole vault, discus, shot put, javelin, long jump, triple jump and high jump. A total of fourteen nations were represented. Today, almost every country that has competed at the Olympics has participated in athletics events.
Through the seasons of Olympics, many sports have been added and removed from the program. However, only five sports managed to beat the odds and be contested at every summer Olympic Games since 1896. And, athletics is one of them. Now, athletics at Olympics is categorized into distinct sets of events namely track and field events, road running events and racewalking events.
Athletics in Singapore
Today, athletics is a collection of sports enjoyed at different levels by people of all ages and disciplines. Some practise athletics professionally while others enjoy it as a recreation.
Elements of athletics have also been incorporated into Singapore’s very own National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) scheme. Launched in 1982, NAPFA is a standardized test of physical fitness for the general population of Singapore. It is a mandatory test to be taken by all students in Singapore’s primary, secondary and junior college system. Involving tests such as 2.4 kilometers run and standing broad jump, the mandatory test encourages students to stay heathy and fit.
Athletics is one of the most fundamental sports that requires basic or even no equipments to execute. Hence, it comes as no surprise that athletics is one of the most widely played sports in Singapore, in the region or across the globe.