Track and Field Events – History, Types and Governing Body

History of Track and Field Events

Track and Field Events – History, Types and Governing Body : Track and Field Events are one of the oldest sporting competitions, as running events, jumping events and throwing events are natural and universal forms of human physical expression. In ancient times, it was an event held in festivals and sports meets.

Track and Field Events - History, Types and Governing Body

Track and Field Events – History, Types and Governing Body

The true development of track and field events as a modern sport started in England during the 19th century. The first recorded examples of organized track and field events at a sports festival are the Ancient Olympic Games.

The profile of the sport gained popularity in the 1980s, with a number of athletes becoming household names such as Carl Lewis, Sergey Bubka, Sebastian Coe and Zola Budd, etc.

Track and Field Events - History, Types and Governing Body

From the 1990s onwards, track and field events became increasingly more professional and international. With the introduction of prize money in 1997, The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Championships in Athletics became a fully professional competition.

In modern times, the two most prestigious international track and field events competitions are athletics competition at the Olympic Games and the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.

Developments in the application of sports science enhanced the commercial capacity of track and field events. It leads to many changes to coaching methods, athlete’s diet regimes, training facilities, and sports types of equipment.

Track and Field Events – History, Types and Governing Body

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Introduction Of Track and Field Events

Track and Field Events - History, Types and Governing Body

Track & Field Events, by far the most contested of all types of sports. It is a sport that includes athletic contests established on the skills of running, jumping, and throwing. It has derived its name from the sport’s typical venue; a stadium with an oval running track enclosing a grass field where the throwing events and jumping events take place. It is categorized under the umbrella sport of athletics, which also includes road running, cross country running, and race walking.

Competitions in track and field are called meets and are usually held outdoors, with the running events taking place on a portion made out of clay, or synthetic compounds.

These events can be divided into their different event areas beginning by separating:

  • Track Events: All of the running and walking events
  • Field Events: All of the throwing and vaulting events
  • Combined/Multi-Events: It combines disciplines from both track and field namely the decathlon and heptathlon. These are the events that test all-around capabilities.

The majority of athletes tend to specialize in just one event type with the aim of perfecting their performances, although the aim of combined events athletes is to become proficient in a number of disciplines.

Participation by women has grown rapidly in many countries in recent years as many schools have added women’s track and field events to their athletic programs.

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Track Events

Track and Field Events - History, Types and Governing Body

Track events are basically foot racing events that involve running (sprints, middle and long-distance events), hurdling and relay races on a track over a specified distance. In Hurdling Events, obstacles may be placed on the track and in case of relay races; teams of athletes run and pass on a baton to their team members at the end of a certain distance.

It includes:

  • Three Sprinting Events: 100 meters,200 meters, and 400 meters.
  • Middle Distance Events: 800 meters, 1500 meters.
  • Distance: 3,000 meter Steeplechase, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, Marathon.
  • Hurdles: 100-meter hurdles (women), 110-meter hurdles (men), 400-meter hurdles.
  • Relays: 4 x 100 meters relay, 4 x 400 meters relay.
  • Walks: 20-kilometer race walk, 50-kilometre race walk.

Relay races are the only track and field event in which a team of runners directly compete against other teams.

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Field Events

The field events include disciplines involving jumping events and throwing events. It generally takes place at the same time as the running events, on the area within the track’s circumference, or nearby.

There are two types of field events:

  • Jumping Events:

Athletes are judged on either the length or height of their jumps. Regular jumping events include horizontal jumps (long jump & triple jump), Vertical jumps (high jump and pole vault).

  • Throwing Events:

It involves hurling an implement such as a heavyweight, javelin or discus from a set point. The most common throwing events are shot put, javelin, discus and hammer.

The jumping and throwing events are won by the athlete who achieves the greatest distance or height.


Combined Events

Combined events involve the same group of athletes contesting for a number of different track and field events. Scores are given for their performance in each event and the athlete with the greatest points total at the end of all events is the winner. In these, athletes participate in a combination of track and field events namely:

  • Pentathlon: consisting of five events.
  • Heptathlon: consisting of seven events.
  • Decathlon: consisting of ten events.

These multi-events are challenging tests of stamina and athletic skill.

Governing Body

In 1913 the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) was formed by representatives from 16 countries. It is the international governing body. It keeps records of the best performances in specific events, at the world and national levels. However, if athletes are deemed to have violated the event’s rules or regulations, they are disqualified from the competition. The governance of track and field at the continental and national level is also done by athletics bodies.

Attending a track and field meet is a lot like watching a three-ring circus, with a variety of activities happening at the same time. Runners stride around the track, sometimes sprinting, other times pacing themselves. Some athletes leap over obstacles while others pass silver batons to teammates as in case of a relay race. There are horizontal and vertical jumpers, as well as throwers tossing a variety of objects. Above all, there are men and women, or girls and boys, competing in many unique events.

With each different track and field events comes great athletic skills. Although we may have heard of these events by name, we probably aren’t quite sure of how exactly each is performed. But it is strongly argued that having a good foundation in track and field events can surely help any athlete in his or her chosen profession, as well as personal pursuit &, will help in overall development.

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