Sally Pearson announces drive to increase participation in athletics

Athletics is a major step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the largest participation sport in Australia, with a new drive to boost involvement at all levels.

Fresh from her win at the world championships in London, Sally Pearson announced in Sydney today a landmark partnership between Coles, Athletics Australia and Little Athletics Australia.

The three year multi-million dollar deal will support grassroots athletics across Australia.

Coles supermarkets will also donate more than 2 million bananas to local clubs across Australia during the upcoming Little Athletics season, which kicks off next month.

Sally Pearson, who joined Little Athletics on the Gold Coast when she was 11, said the partnership was fantastic news for athletes young and old and our clubs around Australia.

“Little Aths gave me the start I needed to be successful and fulfil my dreams. I am confident this partnership will help more kids across Australia to create their own story through athletics,” she said.

Coles Managing Director John Durkan said Coles was delighted to be entering into a three year partnership with Athletics Australia and Little Athletics.

“This is a first for Coles and it is the most significant sports partnership we’ve ever been involved in,” he said.

“We are passionate about our fresh food and we think this sponsorship is another way we can support health, fun and fitness across Australia. We also know our customers love sport and getting involved in clubs across the community.”

“Sally Pearson is a great example of the opportunities that athletics opens up for kids. We encourage kids to start their own journey today with athletics.”

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer Darren Gocher said the three-way partnership with Little Athletics would see athletics participation grow in Australia.

“Today is a truly landmark moment for Australian athletics, as it marks the first major corporate partnership encompassing both Athletics Australia and Little Athletics Australia,” he said.

“I look forward to working with our athletes, members, clubs and other stakeholders so that athletics can continue to prosper in Australia. The rich history of this sport – the number one sport of the Olympic Games – signifies the potential it has to become our nation’s favourite.”

“This is set to be a great partnership with Coles, already setting the benchmark as the biggest sponsorship in the history of our sport.”

Coles will be recognised as the community partner of Athletics Australia and naming rights sponsor for Little Athletics Australia. The Coles sponsorship will be activated across schools, clubs and Indigenous communities.

Little Athletics Australia President Dereck Fineberg said he was delighted to partner with Coles.

“This three year sponsorship agreement will truly be beneficial to the sport of athletics across the entire country,” he said.

“Little Athletics is an iconic brand in the Australian sporting landscape and the Coles partnership will enable us to provide more support and resources to the 530 centres and clubs at grassroots level and ensure further growth in the sport.”

The athletics partnership with Coles follows its sponsorship of the inaugural Nitro Athletics in Melbourne in February.