Summer 2020 Competition Framework

05 May 2020

Summer 2020 Competition Framework

Athletics Northern Ireland understand the desire for information about the potential competition season for track and field this year, as well as any return to club training prior to that.  We’ve been working in conjunction with British Athletics, the other Home Countries and Athletics Ireland, to provide guidance on how we can potentially transition back to activity and a possibly shortened competition season.

Below we outline our key principles and a potential plan for Track and Field competitions during this season, subject to the applicable constraints.

Updated Tuesday 5th May 2020

Please note that this is a working document and is subject to change, particularly regarding restrictions on numbers, social distancing and travel. The Track and Field Committee are meeting (virtually) on a regular basis to discuss the way forward and we will work as creatively as possible to bring opportunities to athletes at all levels, ages and abilities. At the time of going to print, we have no dates from Athletics Ireland for Age Group Championships. If a date is set, we will schedule any competitions required for qualification.


We recognise that the situation is constantly changing and government guidance is being updated regularly. Any return to activity and competition will consider all government messaging with the aim that we maintain the safety and well-being of the athletics and wider community as our primary goal.  The current government guidelines are clear and Athletics Northern Ireland and the other Home Countries support this messaging. Our most recent statement can be found here


Although the focus of this communication is competition, we know that prior to competition restarting in any form, club training in suitable facilities will be required.  Our planning has taken this into account.  Athletics Northern Ireland will release guidance and information on a potential return to activity, based on information we get from the government. The below principles will apply: 

  • We will follow all Government guidelines on any transition back to activity, with the aim of ensuring the continued safety and well-being of the athletics and wider community.
  • For each competition we will work in partnership with clubs and facility providers to ensure all activities are safe and has the well-being of individuals at its core
  • We will factor in training time for athletes before competition and time for facilities/competition providers to manage any social distancing requirements and safety checks that they may have to implement.
  • We will have a limited number of weeks for training and competition where will aim to provide exciting events and a variety of competition appropriate for all levels of the sport and all ages, if possible.
  • We may need to be innovative around certain events or types of events within athletics, if restrictions on social distancing remain and we will produce guidance and work with providers to mitigate risk and enable competition within any government guidelines.
  • We will plan for local competition to occur prior to any championships. If the situation arises that only a very limited window of track and field competition can take place, we will consider other scenarios and encourage clubs to lead local activity.
  • Wherever possible, we will coordinate all track and field fixtures to reduce pressure on key support groups, such as officials and volunteers.


Potential Competition Plan

We expect our government to make an announcement at some point this week regarding any lift of lockdown restrictions. We think that the best-case scenario will be the competition season running from the middle of July until late September and we will be in touch with clubs to coordinate activity based on this scenario.  This means a very short season with restrictions, including numbers and social distancing, but we see this as an opportunity to try out some of the new forms of delivery.

Small group training may start in June and, if that is the case, there will be a number of weeks of training available prior to the first competitions. The below is a ten-week framework.  We have entered potential dates against these week numbers as an example of what could happen if activity resumed from the week beginning 8th June and competition from week beginning 20th July, noting that all of the dates are subject to change. Athletics NI may also be able to schedule training sessions for athletes in ANI squads and for young athletes in Summer Camps. Competitions are shown in black and training sessions in bold.


Week number

Week beginning

School athletics

Club Competitions

National Competitions

From 8th June


Virtual T & F Competitions/Small group training sessions

Week 1


Inter-club competitions and/or Come Try It days/evenings

Athletics NI weekly programmes and squad days (Youth Academy, Rising Stars, Event Group)

Week 2


Firmus Super 5/North Down AC/interclub competitions

Week 3


Star Track and Rising Stars Camps

Event Specific Evenings/Short Format

Week 4


Week 5


Firmus Super 5/North Down AC/Interclub competitions

Athletics NI weekly programmes and squad days (Youth Academy, Rising Stars, Event Group)

Week 6



Event Specific Evenings/Short Format

Week 7


Firmus Super 5/North Down AC/Interclub competitions

Athletics NI weekly programmes and squad days (Youth Academy, Rising Stars, Event Group)

Week 8


Primary School Outdoor Competition Finalist from Sportshall Competition, Rising Stars Competition


Event Specific Evenings/Short Format

Week 9


NI & Ulster Championships

Week 10

21 -Sep

We look forward to seeing athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers at various track and field competitions that we are able to deliver.