Information for Athletes for Track & Field Competitions

Athletics NI aims to provide competition opportunities for athletes, at all levels, to measure their progress and perform to their best. To achieve this aim, it is important that athletes are well-prepared for the competition environment and to ensure the delivery of a safe and enjoyable experience for both athletes and officials. Therefore the following guidelines should be adhered to by all athletes, parents, guardians and coaches. Failure to abide by the guidelines may result in the athlete being disqualified. These guidelines are in addition to the UKA Codes of Conduct that athletes, coaches, officials and those with parental responsibility are currently expected to also adhere to  (available here: )

Preparation for Competition

All athletes competing must be competent in any event they have entered. This is particularly important for hurdles, steeplechase, high jump, pole vault, triple jump, hammer, discus and javelin. The officials are there to officiate the competition and cannot be expected to coach inexperienced athletes. If an official feels that the athlete does not have the required competency to compete safely, they have the authority to remove them from the competition.

Event Start Time

Please note that the timetables show the start time of the event, not the time for athletes to report or begin their warmup.

For example, if a long jump competition is timetabled to start at 3.00pm, this is the time that athletes are expected to be ready to take their first jump. They should have presented themselves at the long jump pit in plenty of time to get warmed up, measure their run-up and take a practice jump. If an athlete arrives late for a competition they may not be allowed to compete. Once a competition has commenced athletes are not permitted to use runways or take off areas for practices, warm up purposes, nor are they permitted to use throwing sites for practice trials with or without implements.

Athletes are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of declaration times, especially for championship events. This will be for pre entry events only and is generally 45mins to 1 hour before the event start time. This is to allow the necessary administration processes to be completed – eg calculation of heat numbers, lane draws etc.

Rules of Competition

It is the role of the coaches to ensure athletes are aware of the rules when competing in more than one event. Track should take precedence over field, with jumps taking precedence over throws. Any athlete competing in a field and track event at the same time should report to their field event, request permission to go to their track event from the official, and return to the field event as soon as the track event is finished. They can then re-join the field competition at whichever round is currently taking place. If an athlete has missed a jump or throw in a previous round due to competing in a different event, then they forfeit that jump or throw. The athlete can only re-join a high jump or pole vault competition at the current bar height.

All athletes should also be aware of the general Rules of Competition, including IAAF, UKA, Schools or other competition specific rules as these may alter certain aspects such as use of own implements, time allowed for jumps/throws, withdrawing from competition, use of electronic devices, being coached during competition etc. In all cases personal implements must be checked on the day of competition by an official and once checked will remain in the possession of the event organisers until the event start time – personal implements will not be checked and handed back to the athlete before the competition.

World Athletics Shoe Compliance List

Athletics Ireland Competition Booklet

UKA Rules for Competition

Age Group Rules

Athletes should ensure they are aware of which age group rules their event will be running under. For UKA age groups, athletes age categories are based on their age on 31st August of that competition year. For AAI age groups, athletes age categories are based on their age on 31st December of that competition year and are sometimes called 'Year of Birth' age categories.

For relay events, one member of the team is allowed to run up an age group, however, the remaining team members must be in the correct age group. 

Age Rules 2023

World Athletics Age Categories UKA Age Categories
Category Year Born Category Age Rule
U10 2014 U11 9 or 10 on 31st August 2023
U11 2013 U13 11 or 12 on 31st August 2023
U12 2012 U15 13 or 14 on 31st August 2023
U13 2011 U17 15 or 16 on 31st August 2023
U14 2010 U20 over 16 in the year of competition
U15 2009    
U16 2008    
U17 2007    
U18 2006    
U19 2005    
U20 2004    

Para Athletics Events

Athletics NI host the annual NI & Ulster Track and Field Championships, including Age Groups and Senior events. To make these events as inclusive as possible and provide competition opportunities for all athletes, we include Para Athletics events within our Championships. 

The rules for Para Athletics events at the NI & Ulster Championships are as follows:

Rules for Para Athletics Events at Championships

Athlete, Coach, Parent & Spectator Behaviour

All athletes, parents, guardians, coaches and other spectators at competitions must support the competition in a dignified and courteous manner. Shouting, arguing or being disrespectful towards officials and athletes will not be tolerated and may result in the offender being removed from the arena, and the related athlete being disqualified. Any protests should be made directly to the field / track referee or the official in charge of the event.

Photographers/ Media

Policy on Photographers For Indoor Competition, no photographers are allowed at any time within the competition arena (track or field area), unless approved by the Events & Marketing Manager. For Outdoor Competition, a limited number of passes are available to press credentialed photographers. These are available on application from the Meet Director or Competition Manager prior to the start of the first event of that day’s program.